Lay It On Us, John

John said to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruits worthy of repentance.” – Luke 3:7-8a

Lay it on us, John.
We can take it.
Here we are,
this viper’s brood.
Who warned us?
You did.
Here we stand to flee
or rather, to repent.
Lay it on us. What
should be our fruits?

Say what?
To share?
To give an extra coat
to someone who has none?
To feed the hungry
when we’ve eaten what we need?

OK. That’s fine.
It’s not so hard at all.
Now lay it on us, John.
No punches pulled.
We’re good.

Say what?
Collect no more
than what is owed?
Do not defraud
the customer
or client?

I mean, okay, but really?
That’s so simple.
Childish, even.
Lay it on us, John.
Come on.

Say what?
Do not extort
by threats
or accusation?
Live on our wages,
not on bullying?

But that’s too easy, John.
It’s nothing more
than we’ve been taught
from infancy.
Now lay it on us, John.

Say what?
You’ve noticed how
our closets bulge with clothes,
our cabinets with food?

Say what?
You’ve noticed how
we set the prices just
as high we can set?

Say what?
You’ve noticed how
so many threatened people
find so little aid?

No, lay it on us, John.
Ask us for something hard
to do, because…

We’d really rather not
do what is easy.

A poem/prayer based on Luke 3:7-18, the Revised Common Lectionary Gospel Reading for Year C, Third Sunday of Advent.

The image is The Preaching of St. John the Baptist by Rembrandt – Photo is by Sailko, taken on 6 March 2014, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=41314190.

2 thoughts on “Lay It On Us, John

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