Let the generations of prophets pray with Stephen
for the Spirit to break our stiff necks
and disturb our easy rituals,
for the God of heaven and earth
to pull out the cornerstones from beneath our church buildings
and scatter all Christians from the sanctuaries
until we learn
that the Most High is not an insurance agent
to restore our good fortune
or prevent life’s disasters;
that the Refiner’s Fire is not a theological gimmick
for othering and outcasting;
that the Only & Holy Righteous One is not interested
in our self-righteousness
or cleansing of sin;
because the pure sanctity of Heaven
— the blessedness of the Kingdom of God —
is not preserved by our Bibles
or gilded bricks
or catechisms
or right beliefs,
but by the Living Body, the full Communion
of all people gathered,
justly, peaceably,
into one diverse community
that breathes with Life & Healing
and builds a house to shelter those most in need
(not those who worship wealth & stability)
and listens to God in the voices of strangers and widows
and treasures the unfettered movement of the Spirit.
But the Body is spoiled by its comforts
and stubborn in its factions.
So the Spirit cries out against the Church
while Stephen prays amidst the falling stones.

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