Friday, December 22, 2017

With Apologies to Lawrence Ferlinghetti

On this Sunday in Advent, in the Year of our Lord 2017, I have been inspired by Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s poem “I am waiting,” and the story of Jesus’s birth as told to us in the Gospel of Matthew:
It’s four in the morning, and
I am waiting for my case to come up
and I am waiting
for a rebirth of wonder
and I am waiting for someone to really discover America
and wail,
and I am waiting
perpetually and forever
for a new rebirth of wonder
and I am waiting
and I wonder if you are wailing and waiting too
I wonder if Joseph wailed when Mary told him she was with child and he was not the father
and I wonder if Mary wept knowing that her fate was in a man’s hands and he had the power of life and death over her and her child
and I wonder if like me they too were waiting for a new rebirth of wonder
and I wonder why God chose some no-count couple like Mary and Joseph,
living in some backwater hamlet named Bethlehem
to make his grand divine entrance onto the world stage
when Caesar lost his cool and Herod sent his soldiers
to slaughter every Hebrew boy child under the age of two
and I wonder if the real point of the Christmas story
isn’t to shake us loose from the powerful paradigms of disbelief
that pull us away from acknowledging the presence of God
in this and every other place on this this blessed planet
we call our home
or is it really God’s home and
there is nothing that is not holy
and no one who is not sacred and God comes in this most peculiar way
just to say, “Hello”
and in the soft innocence of a child to tell us
now is not the time to surrender to the
lethargy of indifference
or the dullness of disbelief
or the safety of the status quo
for you too have found favor in the eyes of God
and in the wildness of holy love
there no is shelter from the storm
no room in the inn
no safe routines of convention and common sense
for now, today, you must choose
between the hopes and fears of all the years
and the only compass God will give you or me or any Mary or Joseph is
which God promises is wiser than the wisdom of humankind
and stronger than the strength of the all the armies of all the empires
that ever marched
and all the bombs that ever fell on upturned faces
then or now  or ever
so go with Mary, be a Joseph,
let your love loose in some
new derring-do
and experience your own
rebirth of wonder

Rev. David Hansen

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