Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The Sundays in Lent

Not a believer, but not one to discount the stories

The Temptation in the Wilderness
(Mark 4:  1-11)

After forty days
Of solitude and fasting
A man might gnaw at a stone
Thinking it was bread

Or grow wings
And fly
Around the cities of his mind

Or walk naked
He were clothed,
And perfumed.

A man might do these things
And people might say
He was possessed.

I would say
He was

II.                The Transfiguration
(Mat 17: 1-13)

A Matter of Fact

Erie, Pennsylvania
Like every Starbucks
   corporate living room
   filled with strangers

Nat King Cole
   on the sorta hip
   always inoffensive
   competing with
       the grinding
       and steaming
       of coffee.

I’m pondering
   a biblical summit meeting,
   Christ transfigured,
   locked in conversation
   with Moses and Elijah,
But what they’re talking about –
   I don’t know.

At the table
   next to mine
A gray-haired
   black man
Has made himself at home
   with crossword puzzle, newspapers,
   and prominent -
a brown, leather bound bible

I have a feeling
   he’d know
   and wouldn’t mind
   my asking:

“Excuse me,
   are you a student
     of scripture?”


“Mathew 17
   Jesus on the mountain
   Peter, James, and Andrew.
Jesus talking to Moses and Elijah,
   what were they talking about?”

“Mathew 17,
   “Peter, James, and John,”
     he corrects,
“Jesus was thanking them
   for paving the way,
   and he was promising them
     he would continue the work.”

“The work.  What work?”

“Redemption.  It’s all about redemption.

And that
   was that,
Matter of fact,
   even as Nat King Cole
     lost his baby
     and almost lost his mind…

Even at Starbucks,

   It’s all about the work.

The Woman at the Well
(John 4:  4-42)

In the long shadowed evening
   In the first quiet of the day
He sat at the well’s edge
   And brushed a pebble
   That fell as lively as a star
   Down to Jacob’s water.

She walked
   Across the shadows
Balancing a jar on her shoulder
   With her shadow
     Clinging to her.

Who is this,
   She wondered,
And as the pebble touched water
   All her secrets
    Rippled between them.

He asked for a drink
   And she gave her eyes
He asked for food
   She opened her heart
He told her everything
   And she forgave him

And was never thirsty again.

But he,
    He would cry,


IV.             Sight to the Man Born Blind
(John 9:  1-41)

Left to his own devices
He would have perfected his blindness
And faded completely from this world.

The prophet packed his eyes with mud
And as he washed himself at the river
The world assaulted him.

He found himself answering questions
That had nothing to do with sky, or sun,
Or the astonishing and transparent water
He held in his hands.

His frightened parents,
whose faces he didn’t know,
denied him.

who considered the flash of wonder
in his gaze
questioned and berated him.

The Prophet,
whom he loved,
used him as a lesson.

And then
the man born blind,
fled into the colors of the world
and disappeared from the story.

V.                The Raising of Lazarus
(John 11:  1-43)

Even Jesus
   Must have been
   as he reached
   into darkness
    the spirit
     from beyond
     and forced it
     his friend’s

Even He
   must have been
 at how nature roared
at this intrusion
 and Lazarus walked
     out of his stinking tomb.

   Even He
     must have
wondered and wept
as they embraced
and the wind
howled a sand storm
around them.

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