I use to imagine Heaven
as a Get-out-of-Earth-Free card
in which my seventy-times-seven
is forgotten inside a pardon
And the days between gardens forever disappear
Every blighted moment, sullied by sin,
Stained and sore from grief and fear
In a twinkling, erased from the recollection of men.
Somehow sloughing off the mud and drudge
Of human epochs, human decisions,
Never again to acknowledge
Our blinded imprecisions
All the days of man, the way of all flesh,
Consumed by fog and night
The mortal moments threshed,
Discarded, ever out of sight-
But He isn’t like that, is He?
He redeems the time, each breath unseen
Inhabits our deepest miseries
Collecting the in-betweens
Beauty from ashes, all things worked together,
Let nothing be wasted.
Maybe we aren’t completely severed
From the bitter days we’ve tasted
Maybe we get to remember instead
the stories we’re now too blind to tell:
Recalling only the heaven from the lives we’ve led,
Forever unstained by our hells.
Oh pale moon, where are you tonight?
I am ever the child in your eyes,
Longing to curl up in your dim
Reflection of light, a surprise,
A moment to remember,
Hidden in antique delight.
My moon, since my tiny fingers
Traced out your rounded shape
I named you, perhaps you did the same,
And here I linger while your landscape
Rolls on out of frame,
Your presence missing stirs
The empty black.
What if the power of the Church exists
In uncomfortable places?
Cluttered homes and cracked pavement
And hands clasped in unexpected graces?
What if decentralization
Restores the True Center,
And the Spirit seeks through the sent
Not merely those who enter?
What if, instead of a uniform meal
Sheep feed each according to his own ability,
In faith-grounded motility?
What if the herd gathered less often,
But the sheep knew each other more?
If we love-feasted at appropriate times,
But did life door-to-door?
What if upper rooms are ordinances:
Locations of power-filled commissions-
What if the Spirit waits for obedience,
And the proper conditions?
I have this recurring impulse,
Like an involuntary reaction,
Fervently whispering, “this is false,”
With mounting distraction,
“It isn’t this; it’s something other.”
I’ve ignored it- I’ve reprimanded
I’ve called it sin.
I’ve tried to understand it
Through the lens
Of how I must be wrong.
But the whisper abounds
Deafening as I’ve grown
Until the sounds
Of all I’ve known
Give way to what I might yet know.
If God is real He must be Really God:
Not quantifiably predictable
As an algorithm we manipulate,
Nor blindly biddable
Nor impotently frustrated
He must not be some cosmic vending machine:
What comes out no mere derivative
Of what’s fed in,
Not bent into our normative-
Our projection and accumulation
Of idea and expectation.
He must be separate but not severed:
Distinct in Himself, but whole.
Distinct from man, but not removed
Neither sullied by the savage soul,
Nor cold and unmoved
By human suffering
He must BE and not devour:
Out of nothing, nothing comes,
Yet we are and continue
Not created, not destroyed, matter succumbs
To the dependence of our venue
On a source that sustains
He must be Himself:
Unique, with persona and agency,
Not some pet we overestimate,
Nor garden of our fancies,
With fences wherein we cultivate
What we want Him to be.
These things seemed and seem
He must exist above dream,
Above demands and delusions
Above even my own logic.