We sit perched in a soda-shoppe,
carving our spoons
through generous bowls
of rich and gracious strawberry ice cream,
debating about bodies.
She thinks that the idea of sex with Jesus is heretical
(never mind that many of the Christian mystics
lead us strongly in that direction,
or that the Son of God and Son of Man
was a human male who probably had orgasms
after the onset of puberty).
She thinks that trans* people need healing of their gender identities,
that God would prefer everyone to be clearly Adam and clearly Eve,
because this is (clearly) much closer to the perfect will of God
than the messy battle of messing with pronouns
and doing battle with dysphoria and dissociation.
She even thinks, after years of feeling secure
in her Jesus-loving lesbian life,
that she must seek healing, instantaneous
re-orientation to a heterosexual happiness
that eludes her in her current touch-deprivation,
or (only slightly better) her repeated falls into the arms of women
who give her fucking fabulous orgasms
but no true hold,
no murmur that speaks the truth:
“I see you, Beloved.”
I believe that each one of us,
has our own journey of integrity,
of growing by inches into royal robes stitched for us by the hand of God–
into the full stature of Christ.
Her journey does not look like mine–
nor does it need to:
But for myself,
I cannot yet hear in the certainty she expresses
the rich and gracious flavour
of intimacy with Jesus,
the joy of being unafraid to be wrong
because he is right,
even and especially when I am not.
And I wonder how many times,
in my burning desire to scatter the Gospel
and protect children of God from the dangerous and salty
depths of real heresy and real blasphemy,
my own words have not tasted like rest, like belovedness,
like sitting in a soda-shoppe
smiling the simple sensuality
and rich graciousness
of strawberry ice cream.
smirking flirtatiously at the hot waiter–
I order another bowl.
Me, gaming headphones, playlist,
I dance my gimpy body in my chair,
and in my mind I can do wicked choreo:
Werk it baby, work it!
Or I listen to a piano solo that
hammers my heart,
or drums that rip right through me
to remind me of the rhythm of Heaven.
Yep. That’s how this gimpy boy
Werk it baby, werk it!
I have faith in the power of words.
They are tiny, and insignificant,
and when you use them so powerfully
to evoke the disaster of your life,
complete with sights and smells worthy
of a trigger warning,
and when you tell me
you do not have faith in the power of words,
I see a glass vase dropping to a concrete floor, shattering,
in a shadowed room.
I glimpse, for a moment, your lack of faith.
But then I see a man with shadowed face,
one who heard the shatter,
and without a broom or even even a dustpan
gets down on his hands and knees
wearing only a towel
picking up the pieces,
The sun goes down,
and the glass lies dead.
Still, he keeps working,
working all night,
and I see blood flowing from his fingers,
dark and dripping
and still he picks up the pieces,
I can barely keep my eyes open–
maybe I don’t
but suddenly a shout rouses me.
My eyes burst open
to the room filling with
rose gold light,
imparting rose-gold to the glass
stained with blood,
and his shout is a word,
so golden with love
that a blood-red rose blooms
in my heart, thorns and all:
I do not understand it,
but he has a new vase in his hand,
the same one,
but crackling with lightning.
And the man smiles,
his eyes filling with the joy
of making the universe
and calling it good.
I have faith in that Word,
that calls me rose-gold.
Therefore, though they made him bleed,
yours, and mine,
O root beer, my old friend:
How I will enjoy spending time with you again,
this Easter Season.
You’ve crossed my mind, lately,
but to be honest I haven’t missed you much:
I knew you would be there,
still waiting, after my short walkabout with the Rabbi.
I hope I will appreciate you more,
after making a little space for
“humans do not live by food and drink alone,
but by every word coming from the mouth of God.”
I hope your sweetness
reminds me, just a little, of
“taste and see that the Lord is good;
happy are those who trust in him.”
It will be good to spend time with you again.
Cheers and kisses,
1. I have a good friend,
a fiery and earthy poet and activist,
who wondered aloud among friends
if there was something wrong with him
because the Feast of the Resurrection
doesn’t move him as it does others.
…but I don’t feel anything…
He reads his Bible, and he prays,
and that’s it.
2. Sometimes I wonder if he is a stronger Christian than I,
more disciplined in the Way of Life,
because he does the stuff,
works for justice,
tells the truth
without the holy “heebie-jeebies” that someone like me craves,
and then wonders what’s wrong when they are absent.
I wonder if, as he says, there’s an element of “performance Christianity”
in the emotion I sometimes feel in this time of year:
The Word going down to the bottom
of very thin soil. What happens
3. But mostly I just want to say,
to him and to anyone else who says
…but I don’t feel anything…
It’s possible that only God knows
what it feels like
–in the depths of Godself–
for the universe to shift on its axis.
From N.T Wright’s Easter Oratorio, a passage that never fails to move me about Holy Saturday. I remember a lecture in which he read the last stanza, and, as a punchline, added: “And on the eighth day, New Creation.” Ponder the mystery with me in these last moments before the sun sets on this holy Sabbath:
On the seventh day God rested
in the darkness of the tomb;
Having finished on the sixth day
all his work of joy and doom.
Now the Word had fallen silent,
and the water had run dry,
The bread had all been scattered,
and the light had left the sky.
The flock had lost its shepherd,
and the seed was sadly sown,
The courtiers had betrayed their king,
and nailed him to his throne.
O Sabbath rest by Calvary,
O calm of tomb below,
Where the grave-clothes and the spices
cradle him we do not know!
Rest you well, beloved Jesus,
Caesar’s Lord and Israel’s King,
In the brooding of the Spirit,
in the darkness of the spring.
― N.T. Wright,
I believe it was Karl Rahner, writing of Holy Saturday, who said:
Today is the day that “God is dead.”
The Eastern churches say:
On this holy day the creator rested from all His works.
As I ponder this paradox,
it seizes me:
If Jesus had not been willing to do this,
this Gentile boy might know nothing
about the character of God.