by Percy Bysshe Shelley
I met a traveler from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal these words appear:
“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look upon my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
I remember this poem well from the first time I encountered it in high school. Sonnets were not my favorites, and most of them not too easy to understand, but here was a plain and simple message.
Jesus warns us against self-aggrandizement and lording it over others. Instead he champions a young child, reminds us that the greatest among us serve, while the least make the most of themselves.
Let us get down off our pedestals to worship the Lord this day.