Will We Let Ourselves Be Changed?

Reflection on Proper 5, 3rd Sunday after Pentecost
(Click here for biblical texts)

Can you imagine being alive in the days
when Jesus walked, when Jesus walked,
I say again when Jesus walked,
when Jesus talked, when Jesus said to an
unnamed young man, Rise from your bier!
and even soon after, when Paul was touched,
knocked down from his religious height,
the perch of supremacy, of knowing
your faith is right, the other wrong . . .
Can you imagine, I mean can you really grasp
what it must have been like for either of these two,
one certainly dead, the other deadly certain?

And what of the others–how would we react if
someone sat up in the open casket
or began banging inside the closed one,
different yes from someone beating cancer
odds, surviving surgery doctors said would likely kill,
but still cause for celebration. A miracle?
Would it be like one raised Republican,
slamming others who want government to fix things,
climate change a hoax, Obama worships Allah,
realizing they were wrong, and rising to say it
while incredulous neighbors, long named as traitors,
suddenly find Saul now naming himself as Paul
at the local Democratic caucus voting Bernie? A miracle?

A miracle? Does the Pope decide or do we?
It was a miracle I passed my German test one point to spare–
it is that one extra point that felt like the miracle
at the time, making it clear: not a fluke.
I know its small potatoes, but if you knew how little
German I really knew you might be on your knees
as I was, allowed to stay in graduate school
to take more tests in subjects about which
I actually knew much and cared far more.

Have you experienced a miracle, or even more than one?
Do you expect more? Do you want more in your life,
in the life of the world? Do you pray for a miracle
or have you given up? So much that passes for wisdom
today seems bereft of the possibility of change
coming from outside ourselves, coming from on high,
or low, wherever we imagine God to live (of course,
when we do this, we limit God again, just like those who
claim God lives only in the pages of the holy book).

Too many so-called leaders claim they will make things
all better–great again, if you vote for me–not seeming
to need the rest of us, let alone divine aid–a clue for sure
at how limited their vision is, but then we do the same thing
when we leave God out of our plans, do not include
the ever-present possibility of miracles in daily life.
We cannot assume such intervention–hubris of the worst sort–
but to assume God has already used up Her quota
is an equally egregious egotistical exaggeration
of our place in the cosmic order, claiming for ourselves
the roles of Creator, Redeemer, Sanctifier (spiritual energizer).

Sure, we are descendants, chips off the old block, but
we are not the block, the Source herself, and S/he has lots of life left
and will use it whether we agree or not. The question is, as it was
for Saul and the mother’s only son being carried to his grave,
will we let ourselves be changed, or will we persist
on our way, no matter how ugly, how limiting, how lacking
in godly mercy, justice, hope, grace, joy and love?
writing+poetryAbout this poem . . . So often we read stories of healings and raisings and assume the age of such things is over. But is that true? Or have we set it up in our minds so that we can’t see miracles right before our eyes? Have we set ourselves up in a cynical theological mindset so that God can no longer be God, no longer do what God does?


©Robin Gorsline 2016 faithfulpoetics.net
Please use the above credit when publishing this poem in any form



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