Rise and Fall

“[Jesus] said to them, ‘Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her…'” – Mark 10:11

“But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, ‘Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs.'” – Mark 10:14

Rise and fall, rise and fall.
One minute you set the goal posts high,
to give relationships the dedicated work
we give to our most cherished crafts.

Perhaps you were remembering the potter
Jeremiah watched five centuries before,
who made those errors but reshaped
and did not throw away the clay.

But harsh, Jesus, harsh, to raise the spectre
of a Ten Commandment sin when other sins
like violence defile the marriage bond,
when some receive no options but assent.

Rise and fall, rise and fall.
Another minute and you are indignant
once again, but not with divorcees but friends,
who would “protect” you from the crush of children.

Lower now the barriers, you say,
and let the children come to me,
the heirs, possessors, owners of
the reign of God.

And so they come, the carefully washed
when leaving home, now layered with
a liberal crust of dust, and hardly struck
with the importance of the blessing they’ll receive.

Rise and fall. Rise and fall.
You set our aspirations high, O Lord,
for spouses, friends, and strangers, then
you let them fall, and give the realm of God to us.

A poem/prayer based on Mark 10:2-16, the Revised Common Lectionary Gospel Reading for Year B, Proper 22 (27).

The image is Jesus Christ with the Children by Carl Bloch (1800s) – Photo by the Athenaeum, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=25991809

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