(Editor’s Note: The Brothers of John the Steadfast are honored to let this beautiful little poem see the light of the public eye for the very first time.)
What appears below are the words of a true Brother of John the Steadfast, Dr. Kurt Marquart. He wrote them to a classmate who was asked to take a call to Australia. Dr. Marquart’s classmate did not go, but within two years of writing these words, Pastor Marquart, who now experiences the “celestial graces,” himself did answer THE CALL OF THE SOUTHERN CROSS.
He who so clearly and faithfully confessed the faith in many articles, books and conference papers did also confess that faith very poetically and personally.
Rev. Walter Otten, Steadfast Lessons of the Past
THE CALL OF THE SOUTHERN CROSS
Beyond the ocean’s far horizons
Where on the canopy of night
Majestically the Christ emblazons
His holy Sign in starry lightâ€”
Thence comes a voice across the waters,
God’s voice, the Macedonian call.
It summons to the throng of martyrs
And saints who sacrificed their all.
Where is the man of faith and valour
Man of strong hands and lion’s heart,
Who knows not fear’s disgracing pallour
And from God’s will does not depart?
“Fear not!” Th’ angelic salutation
Bids all anxiety to cease,
For God Himself in consolation
Omnipotently pledges peace:
“My son! Let not the task dismay thee!
Trust thou in Me, be of good cheer!
The strength is Mine, it shall not fail thee;
In life, in death, thy God is near!
Thou art My holy Church’s servant,
Go, feed My lambs and feed My sheep!
My saints in one communion fervent
Through Word and Sacraments I keep.
To part is pain, yet joy’s unhindered,
Still stands My Gospel’s pledge of old:
He who for Me forsakes his kindred
Shall have them back an hundredfold!”
Thus God, imparting benediction,
Can calm the stormy human breast,
Sustaining us by faith’s conviction
Till we attain eternal rest.
We have here no abiding city,
Nought chains our souls to transient earth;
God’s heaven is ours by His pity,
Our home, our pearl of priceless worth.
What matter, where our ways be wending,
‘neath Southern Cross or Northern Lights?
Our parted pilgrim’s paths are tending
To but one Zion’s sacred Heights!
Go then with God to distant places,
Theirs be the gain, though ours the lossâ€”
Hail and farewell! Celestial graces
Shield you beneath the Southern Cross!
Wednesday after Jubilate, April 22, 1959