11/17/2017

The Gift Returned: a poem exploration



The gift returned.

“He gave his only son,”
And we forever look on the cross, 
That tool of death,
And see God’s love exposed,
In all its terror.

Miserable sinner that I am,
I spin webs
Of petty crimes and sins committed,
Forever ungrateful.
My love is unequal to the gift,
And so I tremble in fear
Yet yearn for Grace.

Here we are then:
Caught forever
Unequal to the gift
Or Giver.
It is an unbearable condition.

O God, for whom time
Is a play thing,
A building block,
A social construct,
Take me back to the tomb,
To the moments between
Death and resurrection.

In the freedom of that moment,
Let me lift the vail
And see the face
Of Him who died
That I might live.

I dream:
I see Him there.
His face is peaceful.

I kiss him gently,
And leaning, whisper in his ear,
“It’s alright,
You didn’t have to die and live again
For me, or for the world.”

I imagine
The terror of accepting the gift 
Too great to ever repay,
Of the offering 
That requires death
And a cross,

And I say, “no.”

“No. God, no.
Don’t die for me.”
I’m not worth the trouble,

Double trouble if you do,
For then I am forever
Both a sinner and a debtor,
Locked into the dread economy
And strange dance,
Of redemption and release.

Let me run back and tell Pilate
Not to play his part,
And the Sanhedrin not to play theirs.
Let them and me look away
And not take the gift in hand
And lead Him to the gallows.

Rather let us look on Him while living
And see the love exposed and evident,
The transfiguration of mere flesh
To God present,
And see that as gift enough.

Perhaps we could look on him
And not despise,
Could look at him, 
and let him go wandering
Away, into a paradise unblemished
By agony and blood.

In imagination I wonder,
Could I or we accept the Incarnation
As enough? 

Could we see God present
Without the cross?

Is it possible,
With less severity,
To teach
The way of life
Unfettered,
Not bound to violence
And my forever debt?

“God gives his only Son,”
But must I receive
Such an encumbered offering,
Just like that?

“No,” I whisper to Him who is veiled.
“Not that,”

Rather, this:

God have his only Son
To be here, for a while,
For any / every while,
That in Him,
God might walk again
The shaded paths with us,
And we might know God’s love
In the intercourse along the way,
And Eden be restored.


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