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January 10, 2021 42 min

Ready For Jesus

 

The missionary is only 20.

He's telling us that the people in Honduras have nothing---

he describes a family of seven

who live in a mud hut

with a dirt floor and a doorway

with no door so the animals wander in and out.

 

They are ready for Jesus...

he says,

Their existence is painful,

so they're

looking for some meaning.

 

He tells us that they are the other race

in Honduras,

not the Latinos.

Hundreds of years ago,

a slave ship wrecked

off the coast,

they washed ashore

and never left, kept their language,

their culture,

stayed separate.

 

In my high school geography text,

a map demonstrated

the movements of the tectonic plates,

how the continents had once fit together as a

single mass called Pangaea.

 

I wonder if the Honduran coast

would match up

against the original home beach

of these people like

if it weren't for time, this

transplantation

would have been nothing

more than

a hike across the grassland.

 

The young man's eyes are wild

as he tells us he's broken

off his plans for Law school to do

this.

 

I pick up my notebook,

and am about to write something

about how pain comes in going

from one thing to another

too suddenly,

being jolted even

half-a-foot

by a car from behind;

or smooth skin made in an instant,

two bleeding halves

by a blade:

the abrupt imposition

of a foreign object

disrupting the order..., when

he asks for money.

 

The woman across the aisle from me

begins to dig in her purse

for the piece of Jesus she will

send.

*********************

 

A Conversation with Logos

I

The Greeks described logos as the living

substance that enlivened, animated

all things, they said it inhabited the world like

honey inhabits the honeycomb-- logos

saturates all that we are, is associated with

fire and light.

                      The Hebrews understood

logos as the great mysterious inter-

cessor between God and humanity... they named it

Torah. But Torah was not simply written

word; the rabbis claimed, When G-d began

to create the world, He consulted Torah... Torah,

logos, the Word that preexists speech,

writing, art, earth, sky, universe.

The gospel of John begins, In the beginning

was logos, and logos was with God

and logos was God, he was with God

in the beginning, and through logos all was

made, without logos nothing that is

could have been, and logos was life, and

that life was light, and that light

shines into darkness... and darkness cannot

overcome... light, word, life,

warmth, logos...

                           Darkness cannot over-

come, darkness cannot overcome,

darkness cannot overcome

                                            light.

 

II

The irony of

the Word

preceding all speaking,

the warmth

preceding all fire,

the life

preceding all bodies,

the light

preceding all creation,

is that

all talk must be

silenced, all lamps

extinguished, all

movement

stilled,

all work ceased

in order for

the most important conversation

to begin,

the most brilliant illumination

to be seen,

the most savored breath

to be taken,

and the vocation of living to

start.

 

III

There is a voice that is mine

that is heard always

though rarely listened to,

and though this voice is mine,

it is one I am just beginning

to recognize—

not mine because I have shaped

its reflections or phrasings, I did not

speak it,

but mine because this voice,

in gentleness and wisdom, is always trying to

speak me.

It knows my true name—the one I'm sure

I knew best only hours after birth, now

mostly forgotten.

While other voices try to speak me into shapes

they've schemed, the shapes that serve them

best,

this voice is sighing gently, the form

called me—the form I had before I was—the form that

serves best.

Only silence parts the lips and moves the breath,

articulates the tongue, my tongue, my breath, my lips

praying my one true voice.

**************************

 

What People Forget

 

Is that the universe is more space

than stuff

and that space is what

keeps planets spinning and

galaxies expanding...

Is that their bodies are full

of space as well,

each atom a tiny galaxy tugging

and animated.

At our very core

our most elemental state there

are vast distances, journeys to be

made and

intervals between

open enough for

adventure.

In a moment we tend to think

that what we are is solid, that

what we are is what we will be.

But what I am has never been

certain... the "who" of me

a dynamic set of parameters held

together by that gravity we call

soul.

Now, do not mistake me, thinking

I mean that soul is other than

substance... no, soul is substance

held precious. Soul is one green planet

held in loving embrace by one perfect

star, made inhabitable: a place for

life to multiply.

Soul is not singular

though soul is union

like marriage like the

atom like my body

like my mother

like my father

like my daughter

like my son

like spirit,

breath, wind in

everything,

Like universe,

uni- ONE

verse- POEM

One poem many lines

enough spaces

to make the singing

of it

an exquisite journey.

 

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