Freed for Extravagance

(Lent 5, Year C; click here for the biblical texts)

The poor we always have with us,
so God’s truth is:  reach out, feed, house,
clothe, care—but not in tightfisted
begrudging dutiful charity ways,
and certainly not to pretend
poor people alone are to blame
for their reality and we who are not poor
are innocent—embrace God’s beloved,
all of us siblings in the divine family.

Let’s follow Mary at table,  
pouring the gift of our soul—a gift from God—
like cheap wine at a block party
where no one has to worry about driving home,
a fountain of living loving liquid
to quench the dried out hearts
and weary bodies of neighbors in need
of laughter, joy, mountains of love
to feed children’s empty bellies,
to ease pains of living on edge,  
not sure when the next paycheck comes
if it will, or whether there even is a job.

Mary chose expensive ointment, showing
how to value those we love by stretching
beyond the comfortable to extravagance,
doing a new thing dazzling in simplicity,
grace and intimacy, using her own hair
as the agent of anointing, adoration,
and announcement of devotion to Lord Jesus
beyond the well-trod  ways.
Can you imagine presidential candidates
really hugging people, not photo ops,
really listening, not video opportunities,
telling whole truths in love, not advantage
against the other side?
That’s the revolution Mary began
and we are called to continue.

So when will you let your hair down
long enough to bathe your neighbor
and the world in endless pure love,
no conditions, no ugly boundaries
just love, more love still, an extravagance of love?

©Robin Gorsline 2016 lectionarypoetics.org
Please use the credit line above when publishing this poem in any form

writing+poetryAbout this poem . . . The story in John 12 about Mary anointing Jesus’ feet with costly oil and her hair seems to stand in stark contrast to the last line about the inevitability of poor people—at least that is how it has often been interpreted. But what if her actions are the template by which we learn to care for each other, and perhaps especially for the poor?

 

It Takes a Real Woman

(Advent 4 Year C; please click here for a link to the biblical texts)

Believing God is different from believing in God
Mary teaches us the difference knowing the mercy
power help only God gives when we are open
trusting willing. It is not easy but can be simple
when we yield our need to be the sole agenda
and see in signs of our times what God asks
of us. The divine desire is what counts
We must listen and feel the thumps inside
our souls and bellies the word appearing
in unlikely ways times places
lemon vendors on the streets of Buenos Aires
men in a bathhouse whispering sweet love
trees in the woods sighing soft truth
protestors chanting hope
wounded communities living tough love.
We know what to do. Not to look away
not to pretend we do not hear
but listen as if our lives depended on it
as real lives do not the ones we put on
for sleepwalking jaywalking speedwalking
to get to the end
rather than enjoy a pilgrimage with our holy tour guide
seeing all the sites inviting us to sit a spell
for what comes next praying to see
the wisdom buried inside an ugly package
unlikely call or unplanned pregnancy.
Anyone can believe in God. It takes
a real woman to go all the way.

 

©RobinGorsline2015 lectionary poetics.org
Please use the credit line above when publishing this poem in any form