I experienced church yesterday,
One close by, one far away,
Another on the ropes
The taste of hope
Unfamiliar on her tongue-
Her praises yet unsung.
Years I practiced trimming wicks
Negotiating the internal matrix
Within solid doors and stained panes
Where we mostly stayed unchanged-
It was a thing we were building,
A room we were crafting, filling,
Barricading against rupture.
We struggled against our blindness and pride,
But it was better than being outside.
The last ten years, or more,
Love and grace cracking the door,
I’ve seen it unfurled all around:
Hands clasped, feet on the ground,
And our church is the praise we lift,
The sudden rejoicing at the gift
Of unity in our shared obedience-
Fulfilling, not negating, prior experience-
I used to play at it alone,
Then aside my brothers,
Now I see: it’s not complete
’Til we reach out and share with others.
In all my days of wandering,
Wending through water and wood,
For every move I made I
Mustered what courage I could,
Closing my eyes, and holding my breath
Putting foot, by foot, to ground
And while my fear was never lost,
Some little bravery was found.
On the outskirts of each town,
I buried my farewells.
Just enough courage to leave them,
But never enough to tell
And once I left a city,
I cut it from my map,
Because there was never any forward,
If there was ever any back.
All the friends I found along the way,
I left littered on every street,
Because the brave are always advancing,
The brave do not retreat
But each friend spoke into my heart,
And all their words remained,
And all my tiny footfalls
Left the echoed words unchanged.
And every word begged me
To change my wandering ways,
And every time they welcomed me
To make a home- to Stay.
Still I continued headway,
Step, by step, by step,
Until, in shock and wonder,
I found those who could accept
All my failed goodbyes,
And the worst I can be.
Friends who superseded,
Who survived as family.
Now in all my many travels,
And ever did I roam,
Nothing took more courage
Than learning to come home.
Swallow the past?
As brothers who disagree,
But long to see
The same Father.
Can I bother
Myself to change
Or somehow rearrange
Biases I’ve hailed
The body come to its senses.
Can I drop my hesitancy
To embrace residency
Under an enemy
Who is now my friend?
Is this an end
Or another beginning,
and Can I?