Two or Three or Seven or Seventy-Seven

It sounds so… easy… Jesus.
Like when those friends of mine
cajoled their mother into asking you –
the gall! –
to ask you if her sons could sit
at either side of you upon your throne.

Oh, yeah. Like that was gonna happen.
I knew full well that your ideas
were not in line with theirs –
the gall! –
but also, well, they weren’t in line with mine
but trust me, you’ll see my way, won’t you now?

Such simple steps. First me, then me and Andrew, say,
or me and Matthew or Iscariot
to talk to James and John (and mom) –
the gall! –
and get them straightened out. And if that
doesn’t work, we’ll get the group. And you.

But really, just how many times
will I be forced to make this run-around?
How many times will James and John (and mom) –
the gall! –
be able to repeat this sorry circle
and distract us from your better work?

Once ought to be enough. Or twice.
They’re smarter than they ought to be, you know,
these Sons of Thunder and their mom –
the gall! –
but I’d be willing now to go as high as seven
and then they can be tax collectors to us all.

What’s that you said?
Like… Matthew?
Oh.
The gall.

A poem/prayer based on Matthew 18:15-20 (with references to Matthew 20:20-28 and 18:21), the Revised Common Lectionary Gospel Reading for Year A, Proper 18 (23).

The image is Le Christ rencontrant la femme et les fils de Zébédée by Paolo Veronese – photo by Tylwyth Eldar, 2018-08-04 11:05:41, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=71396860.

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