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scripture, prayer, and creative response with communion

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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Pastor Keith's Poem for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

A poem for the Week of Christian Unity as published in Living Lutheran (www.livinglutheran.com)
The eyes of an infant
may spot a speck of dust upon the floor
that we ignore, unseen, uncaring,
yet an infant’s hands present the gift
to the shaking of our heads, a smile
playing upon our lips,
all the while we reach under couches and chairs
for what more we may have missed.
We see the world differently,
in innocence noting that all is not the same,
a child’s game: which one is not like the other?
And on a street where we once gathered,
the Irish and Italian former city dwellers
and us,
now as children older, set for school,
the trains returning fathers to subways and workdays
the suburbs in their rearview,
sons and daughters in crisp uniforms of plaid and brown and blue,
one bus for girls and one for boys,
and we others all a jumble with our carpools. 
How they regaled us:
we drinking in every word about
the nuns and the catechism and communion,
holy and mysterious.
But we tucked it all away and lived instead to play
hopscotch and freeze tag and kickball
and even if in kindness memory has erased the witness
of us and them, of meatless Fridays in Lent
and who did or did not Hail Mary,
I remember nothing of it, but catching toads in teams
and learning to play basketball,
they in patience teaching the most awkward of pupils,
allowing me to share in knowledge most wonderful
of how to swish from beyond the arc. 
How I loved God then,
in joy, in wonder,
life as one great discovery unfolding,
even in the dead of winter, in slush and chill,
even then, until,
until with eyes seeing as they had never seen before
how easily one may sunder the oneness of it all,
of kickball and freeze tag and basketball,
to let the mystery become the measure,
to deify the words of love and grace
in such a way that it mattered most
if one were labeled a sheep or goat,
rather than the actions they embodied:
Are you or are you not?
They calling us to think on these things,
life or death,
rather than a simple act of grace repeating over
like breathing.  
How I loved God once,
when we could live in Christ as one
without a moment’s thought,
day after day,
seeing the differences, but not believing
that they in substance mattered more
than the love that bound us
that we left unnamed without trading its holy ground
for sand.
Did Jesus know as Jesus prayed
that we be one as they are one
that we would twist and turn such love within our hands
until it choked and died?
Nostalgia may be its own kind of sin,
but we must labor, you and I,
to seek in the children of our yesterdays and current time
the resurrection witness, strong and sure,
that the sum of all of differences,
every gesture, prayer and word,
must in all humility,
upon bended knee and with downcast eye,
behold that which lives again
in wholeness now,
seeking in us some holy work,
the healing of the nations,
the finding of the lost,
the binding of the broken,
the answer to a prayer.

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