But Now…

I’ve never worried before, O God,
about the younger son’s repentance.
I’ve always gratefully assumed
he walked the roads of sackcloth
and of ashes. What a shock
his father’s welcome must have been!

But now… I wonder.

Was he another twister of the truth?
Was he another one who turns the world
around his little finger? Did Narcissus blush
with shame at his temerity, his lies?
And did the pounding of his heart betray
his gratitude or hidden glee?

And now… I wonder.

In that Great Somewhere, do you wait for me?
Do you wonder when I’ll lay aside deceit –
delusion sweet for me, unwitting lie to you –
and truly bring my starving soul back home?
Does the pounding of my heart betray
my gratitude or deeply hidden lies?

Yes now… I wonder.

A poem/prayer based on Luke 15:1-3, 11b- 32, the Revised Common Lectionary Gospel reading for Year C, Fourth Sunday in Lent.

Photo by Eric Anderson.

No, Seriously

I knew it. It’s all about them.

Well, not every them. Just some of them.

No, seriously, Jesus, wait: I’m talking now.

Their sins caught up with them, those Galileans,
when their blood got mingled with
their sacrifices; not to mention,
those unspeakably perverse and foolish
people crushed by falling blocks
when Siloam’s tower fell: Well.
I knew it would catch up with them.

No, seriously, Jesus, wait. I’m talking now.

Have you not said that God is just?
Have you not said that God is righteous?
Have you not said that God will not be mocked?
Not even mocked by cracked foundation stones?

No, seriously, Jesus, wait. I’m talking now.

When I’ve been foolish, yes, and sinful,
I’ve owned up. I’ve said, “I’m sorry,” even
(sometimes) made amends. I’ve done my best
(sometimes) to make things right with them and you.

Should not your justice fall on them
as well as me?

OK. I’ll wait. You’re talking now.

No, seriously, Jesus, are you kidding me?
They weren’t egregious sinners? They
weren’t different from me? And what?
It’s me you summon to repentance?

Oh, great. So I’m a fruitless fig tree now?
Have you not noticed all this time I spend
proclaiming your divinity,
your righteousness, your way?
And while you’re looking, see where they
bear far less fruit that I…

Well, no, I know, I’m not exactly perfect…

Well, yes, I know, I’ve many things to change…

And yes, I know that I’m the only one
who really can change me,
and yes, I know I really can’t change anyone
else but me, but…

No, seriously, Jesus, wait. I ache for this
poor broken world, for all this suffering Creation.
Why can’t the evil suffer for the ills they bring?
Why must the good endure the pain instead?

No, seriously: Why?

Why?

All right.
In ignorance unblessed,
I’ll keep my eye
on me.

A poem/prayer based on Luke 13:1-9, the Revised Common Lectionary Gospel reading for Year C, Third Sunday in Lent.

Photo of the And Jesus Wept statue at St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church in Oklahoma City, OK. Photo by Mike Krzeszak; used by permission under Creative Commons license.