Unbind him, and let him go;
release her from her bonds.
Let them be quickened,
let them be free.
Liberate them from the bands,
the baleful bands
the cords of despair
and graveclothes of fear.
Take the stone away;
let loose the morning’s hopeful light
to chase the shadows from the cave.
Allow sweet birdsong
and the gentle sounds of spirit breeze
to find voice in the previously silent recesses;
so that we who have been dead
might hear the callings of the living,
and, glimpsing some of the possibilities
consider leaving our tomb.
They drove him out
of the Temple; the unnamed man,
who, according to John,
had been born blind.
Now, with the wondrous gift of sight,
he could not be less concerned;
he has no desire to ever go back,
and he won’t.
The Temple no longer has what he needs;
he will manage without it.
In turn, the Temple
will have to get on without him;
and all the others, who, over the millennia,
have been dismissed from its hallowed courts.
The Temple has been adept
at expelling embarrassments;
those who no longer recite the creeds,
who ask their awkward questions
and dare to give shape to their doubts.
Preferring the elusive uncertainty of truth,
whatever its unexpected contours,
they despise the Temple’s promise
of security and comfort.
They would rather die outside the walls
than live the delusions within.
Do your worst, Temple;
drive them all out. Nobody cares
At Sychar the ancient well,
said to have been dug by Jacob himself,
continues its unfailing work;
storing the generosity
of the even older spring
in its cool, dark pool.
Deep below the sun-bleached rocks,
it holds enough water
to deliver its aqueous life
to inhabitants of the Samaritan village,
and to all who come looking;
provided they have a bucket
and sufficient length of rope.
Lacking such basics,
the travelling man from the north,
thirsty from his journey,
makes his famous request
of a woman who came to fill her empty jar.
A spirited conversation bubbles up.
From earnest banter it spills out
into life’s exponential invitation;
to fashion a bucket,
to twist a rope, and
to delve deeply within.
A teacher come from God;
that’s what we all need.
Recognising him or her
might be the challenge, though;
and which God?
we’ve had more than a few
across the millennia;
prophets, messiahs, gurus and the like,
not to mention all the mystics, visionaries
and spiritual guides
who we didn’t even notice at the time
or dismissed as fanatics.
In John’s classic nocturnal encounter
Nicodemus, a teacher of Israel,
affirms the educational credentials
of one called Jesus.
A teacher come from God:
speaking to remind us
about generosity, justice, grace
and truth, (whatever that is),
and of living with courage;
recklessly, passionately and outrageously.
Fully alive, for the sake of love,
the children, and the planet.
How like you, Jesus,
to claim the moral high ground.
You say you choose the better way
over the easier way;
do they have to be mutually exclusive?
Besides, in our opinion,
least resistance is generally under-rated.
If you have the power,
why not use it? Who cares?
They’ll make you king, anyway;
it can be our little secret,
no one else need know.
Our little secret
on the way to world peace;
you could make it happen,
if you wanted to.
What makes your way better?
Can you be sure,
and how do you measure the outcomes?
Compromise and pragmatic solutions
have always been the order of the day;
lofty ideals are all very well
but the economy surely can’t afford them.
It’s a low-percentage plan, Jesus;
won’t convince anybody.
Go on; be tempted.