There was a Jew from Bethlehem and He loved. (John 15: 9 -11)
It was a story, simplified. (Matthew 22:36-39)
For us, the ones outside. (Romans 11:17-18)
He came from the kingly line. (Matthew 1:1-17)
The people entrusted. (Romans 3:1-2)
A covenant not made by man. (Genesis 22: 15-18)
But I was there then. (Galatians 3:7-9)
I was the sin that could not reach across. (Romans 3: 22b-23)
And I did not know. I could only be known. (Romans 8:27)
What, then, could I boast of? (Jeremiah 9:23-24)
Supremacy? Laugh. (Romans 8: 29)
There’s only His side. (Psalm 113: 5-6)
Who. then, would cling to their superior lineage? (Matthew 10: 34-37)
Only those who cling to this world. (Matthew 10: 38-39)
They who fearlessly destroy the body with no fear of the one who can destroy the soul. (Matthew 10:28)
Why would I act like I don’t know you? (John 14:8-11)
Why would I march after an Earthly king? (Psalm 12:8)
I will be replaced. And it is the last thing I do. (Ephesians 4:22-25)
Photo inside of San Teodoro Orthodox Church in Rome, Italy
Across from the Colosseum
I romanticized the past,
Like I could be a part of something.
I could align with ruins that remain.
I have seen it.
And I’ll show them.
Although, it was beautiful.
Building blocks, today, are shaped;
half-directed by life,
half-directed by ruins.
Like roads across from the Colosseum.
What will remain drives so much.
These ruins for the future.
it’s a part of something.
Photo near Colosseum, Rome, Italy.
I saw you in every color and I recognized what I hadn’t seen.
I saw you blossom so I planted more.
I saw you hugging and my distances were narrowed.
I didn’t wait to see you.
I only needed to see.
Photo at Annandale United Methodist Church by Candace Means
Rising emerged as one was my downfall.
There were no parts but a congealed unit
That announced itself by agreeing.
So I divided and let each part conquer
with its own language,
that came from one word.
They speak of joyful destruction.
And one heals as another pains,
as having simultaneous conversations.
It’s fine, though.
They hear each other
And know the other was itself.
I was not whole,
I was disagreeing sounds
That moved by orchestrated clinging.
Photo from Arlington, VA, by Candace Means
I share the bread but hide my notion
so that an image of kind devotion
is my sacrifice; the hour that I tarry.
But I am not a Judas in intent.
I do not kiss nor circumvent.
But underprice the communion; I am wary.
Photo of Ceiling of the Orthodox Chapel at the Vatican in Italy by Candace Means
It was night, but the door was open.
You saw me look through a latticed gate.
You always said that you had known then.
You had the stories to conflate.
You weren’t burdened to understand.
I was whole from your side.
The metal blocks, a reprimand.
But you said smile like I was allied.
But I was known before I entered.
And I was less when I walked out.
The part I played was the word
that’s spoke when there’s no need to doubt.
Photo of Rome, Italy.
“We unknowingly live out this resistance to being known in much of our lives, not the least of which is in our religious practice, as demonstrated by our obsession with knowing and believing the right things about God, about Jesus, about our theology, and about ‘right behavior.’ This imbalanced way of being is often a defense against our feelings of insecurity and shame. …
We delude ourselves into thinking that we know God, but God as we believe him to be – in control and invulnerable – not God as Scripture describes him to be: risk-taking and able to be hurt badly. We no longer have to trust since we’ve got him all figured out.” Curt Thompson, M.D. from Anatomy of the Soul
I thought I did nothing.
I smiled when needed
Or kept myself pleasant.
I thought it was helping.
They said every sign shows
This goodness would win.
I thought I was equal.
I say what they say
And they make me their own.
But I must leave this church of lies;
the one that wants a bridge
to insecurity and shame.
Their god is sure.
He doesn’t know me and
And he can’t be badly hurt.
This church told me,
“You aren’t God.
You are weak.”
I bore the shame
and said I’m weak
Before the predator.
But what they meant was
That I was too weak
And I could not prey with them.
But I ache for love.
The love that didn’t need my agreeable smile.
The love that says my image is theirs.
The love that sought wholeness by my hurting it.
I think I am unequal;
uniquely separate from wholeness.
I think I am helped
By the signs of goodness.
I think I do something.
I smile when needed.
I was motivated to write this poem based on a quote from a book by Curt Thompson, MD that was used in a class at Wesley Seminary last semester. I appreciate his insight in revealing to me this image of God.
Photo at Vatican Museum, Rome, Italy
If I bring new fruit
with arms full,
would past secede to dawning?
If I hide my form
in capricious tulle,
would you accept the conning?
If I bow my head
like strangers meet,
am I an untried Miss?
This trifle I’ll do,
but each day complete
we’ll encounter when we kiss.
Photo at Trevi Fountain, Rome, Italy