Can You Doubt It?

Pools of blood

Gathering beneath

The hanging body.

Breath goes out,

But doesn’t come back in.

Skin separated from the bones.

What is the truth?

They’ve washed their hands

Of any responsibility.

But can they wash away the blood?

Nightmares come

To remind the guilty.

Can you grit your teeth

And bare this torture?

Can you escape the horror?

This man was truly

From God.

Those who witnessed,

Cannot deny it.

Those who saw him later—

Walking, talking…

Breathing, eating—

Cannot shake the image

From their memory.

Restored but still wounded.

Put your finger

In my wrists and in my side.

He is alive!!!

Miracles: Yes or No

The central belief that all of Christianity hinges on, that of the resurrection from death of Jesus of Nazareth, is a slippery slope, at least. If one chooses to believe that miracle happened, it isn’t too far a stretch to believe in the feeding of the five thousand, or in the healing of the sight of the blind man, or the other miracles that Jesus was supposed to have performed in the Gospels. If you can believe in the resurrection, everything else is on the table.

And there is no shortage of miracles in the Old Testament either. The production of the stone tablets on the mountain after witnessing a burning bush that is not consumed by the fire, the plagues of Egypt before Pharaoh sets free the Israelites, the parting of the sea for the Israelites as they flee Egypt, the production of mammon in the desert to feed the Israelites, and so many more.

So if one believes in all the wonders of the Old Testament, is it such a stretch to believe in the resurrection? Not really. Or if one believes in the resurrection, why not believe in all the miracles of the Old Testament? It is a leap of faith on both counts, no matter how you look at it.

Can one be a Christian without believing in miracles? Well, if you don’t believe in the resurrection, it’s hard to claim that label. But if you do believe in the resurrection, you have no case against the miracles in the rest of the Bible. One can believe in Jesus’ moral teachings, and so be a follower of Jesus in a way, but some of the things Jesus is quoted saying, and the wonders he is recorded as performing, would have to be overlooked.

Gone

Stilled.

The breath and the blood,

Slowing to a stop.

Where is the smile?

The laugh?

Or even the cry?

Seconds tick by…

No movement.

No voice calling.

What happened

To the thrill

Of living life

To its fullest?

What of risk,

Rides and rough-housing?

What of playing games,

Teasing and pranks?

What of kisses,

Hugs, and holding hands?

Life.

Gone!

A Reflection on Juneteenth

Crimes unimaginable

Sins unfathomable

Wrongs not righted

With an apology,

A soft word,

Or the stroke of a pen.

Pain to the deepest parts

Of the heart and soul,

The very fiber of one’s being,

A wound that doesn’t heal,

But rather cuts deeper

With every smile,

Every handshake,

On every pay day,

Every trip to the grocery store,

Every night at mealtime,

When they look at their children,

When they look at ours.

Privilege continues

Despite the lip service,

Despite the promises,

Amidst the meager gifts,

The dregs of easy charity

From the tatters of a bursting purse,

The guilt trip laid on thick

To the middle class and even

The working poor.

Those that lack for food,

Clothing or shelter,

Living barely day to day,

Not knowing where one’s next

Meal will come from.

And at the church the preacher

Says try harder, pray more,

Save your dollars

So you can send your little ones

To a good college,

Make them study,

Keep them out of trouble,

Tell them you love them,

That you’re proud of them

For that report card.

What do you say

When the white kid

Calls them the n-word?

What do you say

When you don’t have a job

Because you refused

To kiss your supervisor’s butt

When he would talk to you

Like you were nothin’,

Just a cog in his machine,

A disposable, replaceable,

Optional, neglectable,

Insultable, disrespected,

Used, abused, tossed out

To the street

Like so much garbage,

Black man?

Power

Wrong meets right.

The fight is strong.

Laugh, they will.

Cry out, they must.

Shout, at the top of their lungs—

Justice must prevail.

So many innocent lives

Have been crushed by the fist

Of the oppressor!

So many suffer

Because of the greed

And the arrogance

Of the powerful.

The powerful?

Who is powerful?

What is power?

Don’t you know that

The wind has changed course

On this hot, dry day.

The wind! The water!

The earth! The animals!

The birds! The insects!

The trees! Yes, even the trees!

Look at an old oak tree,

And tell me about power!

Look at a rushing stream,

And tell me about power!

Watch a lion kill its prey,

And tell me about power!

Is a gun, power?

In the hands of a six year old, a gun is just as powerful as in the hands of a grown man!

A gun is just a tool.

It’s what you do with a tool

That makes it useful.

It’s what you do with a tool

That makes it powerful.

And when a thousand voices scream,

That’s power!

When the people speak as one,

That’s power!

Don’t be afraid.

Be excited!

Be joyful!

Be glad!

For power has come to the people,

And they will not be denied this moment.

They have prayed,

And they have worked,

And they have suffered

For this moment.

Listen to the wind blow

Through the trees!

Justice has come like a mighty rush of wind,

And anything that’s old, anything that’s weak,

Anything that’s not tied down tight,

Is gonna blow away!

Those old tricks, old ways,

Cowardly words, weak attitudes,

Straw men beware!

The wind of justice has come to blow you…

Away!

My Friend, Covid-19

Reach out—flex.

Cringe back—gasp!

Brush up against—

Sorry! My mistake!

What the (bleep) are you doing?

Watch yourself! Be careful!

Did you wash your hands?

Every hour?

You don’t realize how much you touch.

Oh, but only if…

We could meet again,

Hang out. Have coffee together.

Can I read you a story?

No, you might cough on me!

Let’s start over.

We can’t.

What’s done is done.

Where is your mask?

You’ve got to…

Only, perhaps,

It is too late.

Perhaps.

Courageous Relationships (link to video)

www.saintpaulsumc.org/sermon/new-places-for-new-people-courageous-relationships/

Click on the above link to view a sermon by Rev. Dr. Kandace Brooks in which she challenges her congregation to step out of their comfort zones and reach out to others, to ask for help or to be of help, specifically to the mentally ill, suicidal, etc.

A Miracle

Gliding along the currents of air,

I’m lifted by the light that shines on me.

Love permeates my being,

Like a spear piercing my side.

The nails are hammered through

My ragged wrists. I cry out,

My God, my God, why?

Have you forsaken me?

The dusk descends and they lower

My cross, loosen my body

And carry me to my tomb.

I stand on a mountaintop.

Throw yourself down!

God’s angels will save you.

Turn these stones into bread.

You are hungry. Go ahead.

Freedom! I am set free by God’s hand.

Risen at last and the tombstone

Is rolled away.

Headed Down

Flying in circles,

Spiraling down,

Headed straight

For the barren ground.

Screaming for my god

To save me today.

If only have mercy,

A bit of grace.

I see the red flags

Following me.

Everyone knows

My mind tends to flee.

Can you see the remnant

Of my failing try?

Can you see me fall

From up on high?

I’m headed down

To the barren ground,

To dig me a hole

And never come out.

Bend Your Knees!

Do you wonder how I feel?

I want to curl up in a ball.

Go to sleep and never wake up,

Except I don’t live in a vacuum.

There are family and friends,

My wife, of course,

At the top of the list.

If I left the state of things

Would be grim, full of sin,

And everything.

You look so thin!

You look so nothing,

So drab, so flat.

You look like you’re losing

All your fat!

You are mine and I am yours.

Made for each other

In heaven, by George.

We’ll go out together

Or maybe you first.

That’s the way you want it,

On earth.

I don’t know what I’d do

With myself.

Wrestle dust balls from the shelf.

There’s much to look forward to

In this life.

But I can’t remember

Any but strife.

There’s much to hope for,

Much to dream,

But all I want to do

Is scream.

We’ll make it.

Don’t you worry.

There’ll be lots of fun and flurry.

We will gather all around.

We won’t stop for any sound.

Come with me to the holy gate.

Promise I won’t be irate.

We’ll enjoy your company.

We’ll be sure to bend our knees,

Jumping off the side of the boat,

In the castle’s shallow moat.