A Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Advent 2)

Matthew 3: 1-10

If I had come to John back then,
one of the crowd of the curious clothed
in self-satisfaction like armoured vests,

him in his camel skins, sunburned and bearded,
the locusts barely nourishing his stick-thin face,
hands bee-stung from foraging wild honey –

would his flinty eyes find mine as if
seeing into my stung and hungry soul,
seeing my heart heavy and jagged as stone,

as he says “Do not proclaim ‘I’m
Abraham’s child’ with your withered
love, your hopes such sand,

the forgotten good so shrunken inside
your skin…” And would he draw breath
then, seeing my own breath held

like an empty bowl, before those words
from which to make my meal:
“God can raise children of Abraham

from the desert stones.” From
these broken stones? the hardened
chalk that forms my heart? the blown dust

of my tired mind? From the raw dirt of
dailiness I drag around, that drags down me?
Then raise new life in me, good God,

beacon of believing Abraham, giver
of the locust and the wild bee,
God of the silent stones and the
water that changes them.

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