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Austin Liu

Best Rhyming Poem 2006 Novice Christian Poetry Contest $300

I was raised in a Taiwanese Catholic household in California. I was very zealous for God throughout my upbringing, but my zeal was not based on knowledge.

In my sophomore year at a prestigious college, one of my dormitory roommates—an Evangelical Christian—invited me and a Muslim roommate to church. On our first visit, my Muslim roommate accepted Jesus as his Savior, which surprised me. (I had considered converting to Islam at one point; the way I was introduced to Islam made Islam seem to make more sense that Christianity.) I was confused. As a Roman Catholic I already believed Jesus is the Son of God, but I was aware that there was something profoundly different between his faith and mine. I wasn't sure how to "accept Jesus" from where I was. My questioning and various events led me to attend Bible studies. One night in October of 1998, I finally understood what "accepting Jesus" meant. While I lay in bed, I prayed to Jesus and became born again.

I am now studying industrial design, but in the long run I hope to one day serve in full time ministry.

My poem, "Arrowseed", was inspired in a moment of grief after hearing about suicide missions carried out by those who felt they were too sinful to have any other chance of going to Heaven. What suicide bombers seek is a guaranteed way to paradise promised in the Qur'an; what Jesus offers is a guaranteed way to paradise promised in the Bible. What's missing are workers for the harvest.

Arrowseed

Arrowseed, O child of hate
orphaned child of mother raped:
you load your gun and seek revenge;
redemption in your foe's shed blood.
Such endless sin incurred the Flood.
Endless war around you rages
misery throughout the ages
tit for tat and deed for deed
your hatred sows more arrowseed
the weed that bears the fruit of hate
which as you did, will lie in wait
and as you seek your vengeance now
its vengeance seeks you later down.

Arrowseed, O child of war,
seek not redemption in vengeful death
for a "martyr's death" cannot redeem;
it's but a wicked liar's dream.
Hark—another Son has died!
In innocence He bled and cried
and bore the vengeance and the guilt
which endless war around you built.
Victimhood or not, you know
that you too bear the guilt of hate
and cannot pay the price and live
a price that Son did freely give.
He rose again in proof that God alone
accepted justice paid in full, atoned;
upon this bloodied sinful sod
He ransomed us by His own blood.

Arrowseed, O child of God
He calls you now; do you not hear?
Or do you shrink away in fear?
Right fear indeed, for you have sinned,
but fear diffused is right in light
of God's wrath diffused upon His Son,
who won the war you couldn't have won.
The seeds of hate you now may burn,
if you'll take the seed of God and learn.
God's seed rooted in your heart today
means you may take the life-path's narrow way.
The fruit it bears is sweet indeed:
not wrath nor malice, lust nor greed
but love and patience, joy and peace.
Sow instead the seeds of love prepared
for ransomed ground that God has spared.
Would you take this seed of love we give?
Those who bear His fruit shall live!

His Name is Jesus.
Amen. Hallelujah!

Copyright 2006 Austin Liu