Poetry Column February 2021

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“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” ~ John 17:20-21

I in them (He prayed)
And Thou in Me
That they may be perfected as one

My Jesus
You have been
The answer to my every prayer
May I be
The answer
To Yours?

Jesus came to this earth with very few requirements. His birth was humble, his parents simple people. He never owned a home. At the time of His death He only had one change of clothes. People were always helping Him out—with food, with a bed, even with carrying His cross and providing a loaned tomb. Only from an outcast, half-breed woman and from one of His executioners did He ever ask even for a drink of water. What He wanted from people was not their things, but their thoughts. It’s true that a church is exactly what you think of it. If you look at it as a group of show-offs and hypocrites, you’ll hold yourself above them. If you try to see others as fellow-strugglers, you’ll help—and be helped by—them.

And when you stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. ~ Mark 11:25 (KJV)

Ought Against My Sister
They’re passing the communion bread now.
We must break from the same piece.
It is as if we have been given the same piece of Flesh;
And like wolves with our teeth on opposite edges,
We can only see each other’s eyes
Across the meat of this matter.
Like loaves that reproduced themselves for the five thousand,
Like grace that multiplies itself to infinity:
Love, beckoning and irresistible,
Molds us together
(the eye cannot say, “I don’t need you”
the hand cannot say, “I don’t need you”
We cannot hurt
Our own bodies)
Sister, my sister,
I love you
As myself

A recent attempt to memorize from Matthew the so-called “Lord’s Prayer” in Koine Greek brought me to a shocking discovery. I had always thought that it was quite equitable that I should forgive those who trespassed against me because God had forgiven my sins: a sort of theological tit-for-tat where I’d try to play catch-up for what He’d done for me. But what a surprise to discover that the Greek said something quite different altogether! It actually says, “Forgive us our sins as we have forgiven those who sin against us.” In other words, Jesus invites us to see the implications of not forgiving others in terms of not being forgiven ourselves. That makes a grudge the most expensive thing our souls can buy.

The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray. ~ 1 Peter 4:7

It is not communion
But the clutter of things
That is here.
It is the clamor of the
Voices of musts
That cloud this place.

Resolutely, I do what
Must be done.
I clear the table of my mind
And set it simply with
Wine and bread.
Now the Guest
Can come.

That first Communion service must have been a study in contrasts. The disciples still had fresh in their memories the excitement of the Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem a few days before, but Jesus was talking as if something bad was about to happen. Even the group there was a strange combination of personalities and backgrounds: among them uneducated fishermen, a thief, a terrorist, and the modern equivalent of an IRS agent. John reclined on one side, his head on Jesus’ chest, hearing His heart beating. And since Judas took the sop from Jesus, he was probably just behind Jesus. Did Jesus hear Judas’ treacherous heart beat faster when He told him, “What you’re going to do, do quickly”?

Dr. Latayne C. Scott is the recipient of Pepperdine University’s Distinguished Christian Service Award for “Creative Christian Writing,” and is Trinity Southwest University’s Author in Residence. Her newest book is Talking with Teens about Sexuality: Critical Conversations about Social Media, Gender Identity, Same-Sex Attraction, Pornography, Purity, Dating, Etc. with Dr. Beth Robinson (Bethany Books.) The author of over two dozen published books, including Passion, Power, Proxy, Release (TSU Press) in which these poems appear, she lives and writes in New Mexico. She maintains two websites: Latayne.com and Representationalresearch.com.

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