I believe in one God
who’s been known to show up
when and where I’d much rather not see him.
I believe in the maker of heaven and earth
who blew air into lungs
used to scream at the sky
and I wonder if he ever regrets it.
I believe in the Lord Jesus Christ,
the begotten son,
who is said to have bled
for the sins that entice and divide me.
He shall come again, with glory,
but will find his role as judge has been usurped.
I believe in the Spirit,
in the holiest Ghost,
who haunts both my heart and my head.
The spirit must wince
at the things it is forced
to share space with in both these locations.
I believe in the Church on my best days.
I hang my head on the worst.
I acknowledge the baptism
that furthers redemption
and wish hope was as simple
as rising from water.
I look for the resurrection of the dead
in the mirror, in the movies,
in that poem of Donne’s
that always confounds me.
I look for the signs of the world to come
and am silenced when heaven slips open
like a mouth about to speak.
"Jesus calls his disciples, giving us authority to heal and sending us out. He doesn’t show us how to reliably cure a molar pregnancy. He doesn’t show us how to make a blind man see, dry every tear, or even drive out all kinds of demons. But he shows us how to enter into a way of life in which the broken and sick pieces are held in love, and given meaning In which strangers literally touch each other, and doing so make a community spacious enough for everyone. In which the deepest desires of our hearts draw us to health. Don’t be afraid, Jesus says: your faith will make you well.”
—Sara Miles, Jesus Freak, p. 105
"None of us can control what God does. But we can open our eyes and see what God is doing. Jesus says that in order to see the glory of God revealed, we have to look at the whole of creation: God is always among us, making us whole even as we try to divide ourselves, loving us even as we hate each other.
Look at the lame, he says, at the plagued, the poor: those you’ve cast out, those whose suffering you misinterpret as a sign of their own sinfulness. Don’t call unclean anything God has created; do not exclude anything or anyone from your vision. It is all God’s work.”
—Sara Miles, Jesus Freak, p. 11
THE WORD WHOREDER
She tells the psychiatrist she isn’t sure how
it got this way, that maybe it was her
father’s fault that she played with
plebeians then shoved them under sofa cushions,
slipped somnolent and sully under the mattress
stashed miserly and magnitude in the sugar jar.
It began slowly, content just to
spend quiet evenings at home with laconic
and laissez-faire. But then her father died,
and within days she brought home
obstreperous, loquacious, and
alacrity—partied with them for weeks
before she realized loquacious
had pushed laconic and laissez-faire
out the door. Inchoation slips out
from under her tongue—she acknowledges
it’s gotten out of hand. It’s not easy living
like this, she says standing before stacks
of hubris towering in front of the fireplace;
she can’t even brush her teeth without stumbling
over garrulous piles of you-name-it.
She weaves her way
like a drunken mouse
gnawing through a
cache of wanton words—
dingy, salacious, crapulence—
all hailing down upon her,
admits she can’t stop,
tastes shrink in her mouth,
purrs, I want even you.
"In stories that still have the power to scare us, Jesus tells his disciples to love by the upside-down values of God’s kingdom, rather than the fear-driven values of human society. He shows how family, tribe, money, violence, and religion—the powers of the world—cannot stand against the love of God. And he tells us that we, too, are called to follow him in breaking down all worldly visions that get in the way of carrying out his instructions. Sure, it’s impossible to feed five thousand people, make a deaf man hear, bring a dead girl to life, as long as you obey human rules. So do it God’s way instead, Jesus teaches. Say yes. Jump right in. Come and see. Embrace the wrong people. Don’t idolize religion. Have mercy. Jesus’ tips cast a light forward, steering us through the dark.”
—Sara Miles, Jesus Freak, p. 3
more than I think I can remember
almost everything it seems sometimes
and yet there are chances that come back
that I did not notice when they stood
where I could have reached out and touched them
this morning the black shepherd dog
still young looking up and saying
Are you ready this time"