POEM: Compassion Hoard

I may not have bread
And I can afford
My feet may be bare
And still
I have wings unseen
A fly on the wall
Reflecting on wear thou art
I cons
A mass
Pining for eternity
I see boxes full of people
Some with bars
Some with stained glass
waiting
For enough
That whored without end
Saving us
In sum coffer
Every talent bared
Under earth
As in
Nails securing
That final wresting place
Claiming one
Again
And again
A trinity of
Applausible deniability
Crossing into hermetic souls
Wading for the rite time
Over countless venerations
Vespering in our years
To take leave of our census
And idol observances
Of mere images
Where weave a cryptic
Marching on
A fortified city
Encyclical motion
While trumpets blare
And walls crumble
De-spite all that is yearned
And our judicious will
Hearts do spill
Into the streets
And hands dirty
Embracing a unwritten
And the present
No longer passed
Hereafter enough
Like know tomorrow

is often confronted with the impossible task of selling compassion.  Sometimes folks recognize that is incarnated into the world by practicing directly.  This both enriches our own experience and models to others.  Talking about the benefits and virtues of compassion may have some value, though mostly in a more academic sense; but for compassion to become real, it must transcend the eddies of the mind on the longest of journeys: from the head to the heart.  This long from the head to the heart typically includes on its itinerary works of the feet and hands.  This is the difference between talking about and experiencing God.  This is quite literally the of Matthew 25:35-36, 40:

“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in and you came to visit me…Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”

Of course, in this poem, I portray the worst in religion: when is whored for self-enrichment, unjust purposes.  scripture has plenty of rousing and poetical indictments of stinky religion; here is one of my favorites:

“I hate, I despise your festivals; your assemblies are a stench to me.  Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them.  Though you bring choice fellowship offerings, I will have no regard for them.  Away with the noise of your songs!  I will not listen to the music of your harps.  But let roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream! (Amos 5:21-24)

Much of bad human behavior is rooted in our of an uncertain future.  This is the obvious attraction and relative success of securing financial wealth, high status, and powerful positions lording over others.  We want control.  We often want way beyond what we can control.  Unfortunately, such overreaching creates a host of problems, not the least of which, quite ironically, is a more dangerous and unpredictable world.  Another irony emerges when we realize that grasping for an uncertain, and even unknowable, we perpetually rob ourselves of the now, the only truly real present within our control. Quite naturally, the present brings forth the future.  Again, plenty of Christian texts are focused on the promise of responding to our deepest groans and highest by following in God’s way, the way of and mercy.  Of course, “following” is actually “leading” humans because acting in the present without waiting for other humans to follow is how God’s plan is manifest on earth. Here is one of my favorite scriptural examples of this relationship, or dance, between God’s purposes and human action:

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?  Is it not to share your with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter – when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?  Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.  Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.  (Isaiah 58:6-9)

Where and mercy are present, God’s presence is experienced.  This is true of all the gifts of the spirit, such as joy, faith, generosity, patience, and love.  Such experience resides in a place transcending buying and selling.  The mystery is how deeply we want that which cannot be bought and sold.  Somewhat less mysterious, though perhaps at least as baffling, is how our dominant experience of buying and selling — of both ourselves and stuff — short-circuits or crowds out experiencing much deeper realities.  I may not have bread/And I can afford .

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