Sunday, July 8, 2018

Poem: "If You Call Me"

I do not believe that you call me to perfection, to some
Blissful state of irresponsibility or happy disentanglement.
I do not believe that you call us to righteousness, to
Satisfied anger at the wrongs and wrong-headed among us.

There is no finish line, at least none that I can see from here.
And there are no pearly gates; these were designed
By architects of complacency, priests of sanctimonious smugness.

Then what?  I'm no longer sure that's the question.
I'm inclined to ask another.  Who are you that calls?

I believe you are the spirit brooding over the face
Of the waters, and over the face of the shifting continents,
And over the faces of all people, everywhere--
Brooding One, Restless Dreamer, Maker of All and All.

I believe you are the fire burning in the desert bush,
And the pit in the prophet's stomach that requires 
A visit to pharaoh's chambers, the empire's many white houses--
Let my people go!  Let my people go!  Thus says the Lord.

I believe you are the great fish swallowing Jonah,
Who has slipped from his calling, but is still needed,
And he's buried in you, in loss and grief and failure--
To Nineveh, you go!  To Nineveh, you go!  A change is coming.

I believe you are the tears in Mary's eye, salty, sweet, 
Like the first waters, brooding, rolling like rivers to her tongue,
And she tastes urgency, resurrection, shocking opportunity--
Beloved, he lives!  Beloved, he lives!  Jesus, our Friend!

If you call me, O Friend, it is not to perfection, to clarity of purpose;
It is not to satisfied anger, to happy disentanglement, or victorious salvation.
If you call me, O Friend, you call me only to you:
To your brooding eyes at the beginning of every beginning;
To the holy ground of sacred story, to people everywhere rushing to freedom;
To the messy belly of life in cities and neighborhoods, at borders, in camps;
To Jesus' bloody side, to his loving arms, to his beloved circle.

May I follow this one breath, just this, into your presence,
And hear even here, even now, the voice of love
Speak my name, our name, many names.
May its speaking find the deep, dark, holy hope in me.
And may this calling shape every other calling:
O Friend.

8 July 2018