They have an efficacious power
written deep within the interstices of their syllables;
these words of Jesus.
We disciples should repeat them often,
even the difficult ones.
We should speak them confidently
with an attitude of blessing, hope
Be at peace! Forgive!
Love your neighbour!
(And your enemies.)
Do for others
as you would have them do for you!
Walk away from your wealth!
(How did that one sneak in?)
Be free! Live fully! Follow!
laying aside reservations
and overcoming our inhibitions,
we might even voice the words
loudly, in public spaces.
We could spray them rudely on walls,
pass them out with cups of water,
or paint them boldly upon our faces;
shouting with appropriate outrage and defiance,
and causing good people
In the fears and uncertainties of first century Jewish politics
an insecure monarch lusts after the niece
who also doubles as his step-daughter.
At a birthday banquet,
the girl entices the gathered dignitaries
with a dance.
teasing and taunting;
she knows how to shake it.
In the old man’s fantasy foolishness
half a kingdom is offered
as the prize for his pleasant titillation.
A prophet’s head,
severed from its outspoken owner’’s body
and proffered upon a platter,
is the price prescribed
by the girl’s vengeful mother.
A king’s self-importance is never a small thing.
His ego expands even further
in the presence of multiple weighty witnesses;
the offending voice will be silenced.
It’s been all about power, lust, politics, pride, and retribution.
Between them, over the next two millennia and beyond,
these evils will account for the larger part
of the world’s pain and sorrow.
During that time other offensive voices will be raised
and many will be silenced.
But an outrageous few will recklessly persist
so that the kingdom,
the kingdom grounded in love and truth and sacrifice
When the boat is getting swamped
and the wind and the rain
beat against our faces and drive into our eyes;
when the news bulletins are full of fear and pain,
our leaders point their fingers
and no one takes responsibility;
when women are beaten,
children deal (or don’t) with trauma
and men set their brains aside
for the sake of chemical pleasure;
when the poor are undeserving,
the wealthy are withholding
and compassion is declared a luxury
we cannot afford;
when the weak and the vulnerable go unprotected,
their oppressors go unpunished
and we are no longer outraged by injustice;
speak again those words
you spoke to your distraught disciples,
to the out-of-control elements,
and to a planet curtained with tears: Peace, be still!