Thursday, November 18, 2010

lunch time poem

Ann Weems
went with me to lunch.
Her book that is:
Putting the Amazing back into Grace

This is the poem
I pondered as I ate
my urbanized tacos...

Planting Seeds

My father's wheel barrow
was filled with children.
Jostled and laughing,
we bumped along to the garden,
where we were taught to plant.
The first thing we learned
was to get on our knees.

The man who came to see my father
wasn't smiling when he said hello.
He and my father sat in the study
for more than an hour.
We waited in the wheelbarrow.

True to his promise, our father
took us to the garden, where we
got on our knees and planted seeds,
even though our father said
we might be living somewhere else
when the flowers bloomed.

My father said there were people
in the church who didn't want him
to preach about peace
and racial equality
and higher wages for the poor.
These people told my father
to stick to the Bible.
Uh-oh, my brother said.
So I said it too.

Sometime later the voting began.
The Session voted to take it to Presbytery,
The Presbytery voted that my father should resign
for "the unity of the church."
The Synod voted that my father
should not resign because he was
a righteous man who had preached
the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The congregation voted "overwhelmingly"
that they wanted my father to stay.
"Overwhelmingly" meant most,
but not all.
My father said it was those few
that worried him.
Contentiousness had been planted, he said,
and it was growing like a weed.

My father resigned because he didn't want
to spend his ministry on quarrelsomeness
when there were so many matters
of justice and mercy in this world,
so many people who needed
the compassion of the church.
Besides....he was tired of all the voting....
as though the church could vote
people in or out of the Kingdom of God.

My father's wheelbarrow belongs to my brother.
He fills it with laughing children
and takes off for the garden
to teach them how to plant.
The first thing they learn is
to get on their knees.
The harvest belongs to God.

Seems....weeds still grow in the church.
Seems....the season for voting continues.
Seems....many still believe we can vote people out of the Kingdom of God.
Though I'm weary of the debating and the voting
we still are called
to get on our knees
and remember
harvest belongs to God.

And if the harvest belongs to God...
then the church does not have the ability
to vote people out of
God's Kingdom.

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