Still trying to grow,
O Jesus, Gardener of Life.
Still trying to heal,
O Jesus, Redeemer of Dust.
Still trying to serve,
O Jesus, Host of the Banquet.
Don’t dig up this fig tree yet.
Don’t abandon me to my bleeding.
Don’t kick me out for lack of a dinner robe.
We could make it work, you know. This drive of yours to persist all the way to death wouldn’t have to have the final word. Remember how often you talked about love? Remember how hard you laughed — with friends, with lepers, with children? Couldn’t that be the work that drives you? Couldn’t we carry that work together, or are you so determined to be alone? What if the poured-out sacrifice was healing oil instead of ebbing blood? What if the last touch we knew in this world was a loving caress instead of piercing spear? I’m trying to show you another way. Could we not break open a jar of blessing? Must it be our hearts that break?
I cannot sit
at your clean white feet
waiting for the blue skies of eternity
while there is white-induced hell on earth.
I cannot pray
to your sweet white face
or repeat your white savior fairytales
that twist hope with capitalism and manifest destiny.
I cannot preach
of your anemic white justice
that absolves its own habits of white racism
and calls for #alllivesmatter whenever the lamb meets the lion.
Take your wonderbread cubes
and your styrofoam wafers; burn them
on the vineyards still bleeding from native populations.
Call it a picnic and see if white folks come with their children.
Take every last one of your white disciples
whose tongues are glib with love and grace
but slow to utter #BlackLivesMatter for fear of
committing their lives to a payment long past due.
Take your white salvation
that acquits white sin as fast as a white jury
and dances in self-absolution as if it’s the emperor’s clothes.
The world knows you are naked, white Jesus. Don’t blame Eve.
You are dying, white Jesus,
and still you cry, “I know not what I’ve done!”
while your prophets cajole, “You did nothing wrong, you
are white as snow.” But see: your blood drowns the world.
Someone come quickly
and comfort, comfort the white Jesus
who is lonely in stained glass and lifeless in praise bands
because the task of rendering racism sinless is his only purpose.
This time there is no resurrection.
It is finished, and your hallowed red letters
have returned to their dust, along with your integrity
as a cult god. Make friends with Baal and the golden calf.
To die for life
— what a laugh!
To accept the kiss of betrayal
— such foolishness!
To save by suffering
— only delusion!
I cannot stand such shame
— there is no glory in this,
No glory in human death
— since Cain, you have known this
Yet we die in every generation
— why would you do the same?
The world needs no more suffering
— ask the turtles, the trees, and all elders.
Of what gain is this loss
— of what use is blood to the ground?
We desperately drink the soaked soil
— yes there, at the foot of the cross,
But if blood could save us, consider:
— how greatly redeemed we would be
By the drenched earth of humanity’s birthplaces
— the Tigris, Euphrates and Nile all know it.
The conquerors would be the most redeemed
— not the most damned, as surely they are.
But notice how hard we try
— still to save ourselves with violence.
If the blood of One would suffice
— it would be finished
Yet we are unsatisfied
— so, God, let us assess:
Any gain from death is unjust.
— Is this how you would be?
Any vulnerability from pain is human.
— Do you stoop so low?
Any anguish from betrayal is naught but heartbreak.
— What kind of holiness is this?
Bury, O God, such foolish heroism.
— Save us not by death.
Condemn the suffering we inflict,
— the sin we violently heap on one another.
Rescue the captive, the refugee, the oppressed.
— Let theirs be the fullness of life.
Take down from the cross the innocent.
— Let blood no more water the earth.
Free the lamb from senseless slaughter.
— Can life no more require this?
I am Zacchaeus,
clamoring and climbing
for a better view of you.
I am Simon Peter,
wading through the water
to be close to you.
I am Susanna,
traveling alongside you
to make a way for good news.
I am Mary,
sitting still with you
to soak in your words.
I am a woman at the well
and a woman at the table,
seeking a drink and a crumb.
Seek me out, Jesus,
even as I search and wait
and long for you.