Sunday, April 1, 2012

If I Cannot Offer my Hands



I turned from the screen,
from the actor depicting Jesus
and the gruesome condition of his
body, slain.
I veered across the room
with my eyes,
and what I saw was a sea
of well-dressed people.
I saw hair dyed and done,
my own included.
I saw pretty shoes and
diamond rings and
maybe even a little
hint of desperation
in a few sets of eyes,
downcast.

I looked then
back to Jesus on the screen
and on the cross,
and I felt anew the total
incongruence of us.
What do the choices I make
each day say
about that moment on the cross when
Christ asked his God
why he had been forsaken?
What do my brownies and ice cream dinners,
my collection of shoes I seldom wear,
my addiction to diet soda and
funky t-shirts...
what does my life say
about his life?

Heart,
I said to the one beating
inside my chest,
the one timing it's pumping
to the sound of a hammer falling
long ago on ancient nails,
Heart, I said,
we don't look anything like
I would expect us to look
had we truly made our way
to Calvary,
truly knelt at his pierced feet and wept
with his mother as she tried
to understand the reasons God
had, in those last hours,
forsaken her son
and her self.

If I cannot look at life
through the lens of Mary's eyes,
through the blood of Jesus Christ,
through the curtain torn asunder
and the quaking of the ground...
If I cannot speak through tongues of fire,
offer drink to those who thirst,
hear the sound of hammer blows
and know
that the hammer's in my hand...
If I cannot hear what He heard,
the answer to his query,
that moment when he asked,
why have you forsaken me...
If I cannot offer my hands
in place of the ones
He stretched out for me,
then what am I doing here
at all?

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