So, is he the Messiah;
and what does it mean
if he is?
That eternal-life thing;
is it about heaven and the afterlife,
or is it something more significant?
The sheep that hear his voice,
the ones that follow him,
we’re talking discipleship now,
costly and committed,
It’s not just some pretty, clichéd,
an assiduous shepherd,
with beard and long flowing hair,
carrying a cute but errant lamb
upon his noble shoulders;
consists not so much
in keeping oneself free from
all manner of sin and impurity,
(although this could be a consequence for some),
but in living in ways that are governed
by divine principles
of generosity and love.
The sort of foolish care
that treats prisoners with dignity,
recognises strangers as fellow pilgrims,
and offers food, clothing and water
to the least among the forgotten.
The kind of reckless defiance
that befriends the embarrassing,
confronts institutional cruelty and fear,
and supports the claims
of the homeless and the refugee.
The improbable commitment to one’s neighbour
that builds community, creates hope
and strives towards justice.
These, the parable tells us,
are the things that determine
who is truly righteous.
Once, when wandering
uncertain and without a destination,
an unexpected wind-spirit thing
claimed my attention
with a whisper; a voice
that spoke of the fulfilment of divine love
but mostly spoke of home.
I followed; listening,
and immersing myself
in the stories of one who found himself
a fellow traveller and child of dust,
like the rest of us.
My journey began anew,
with more meanderings,
an enduring share in uncertainty,
and a goal that continues to shine;
distant but defiant.
In my sometimes hesitant following
I have learned to be at peace
with my need for grace.
There are stories,
more murmurings from the travelling man,
that speak of searching and of being found;
and of the surprising wind-spirit thing.
The stories give me courage
to wander, to explore and to be free;
trusting that even when I feel myself lost,
I will be found.