A Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Epiphany 7)

(Matthew 5: 38-48)

“An eye for an eye” – it sounds so right.
Someone injures you, you fight
back, hurt them too. They take
something that’s yours, you make

them pay. There isn’t too much
that could be simpler, and such
a relief when you’re really mad
to let rage have its way. Right? Too bad

it makes more grief, more rage
that escapes like a dropped page
in a hard wind; the sad results
often manic, beyond words – insults

becoming wars which at all times
are tragic: from bullets to landmines,
blasted houses to dead kids.
The challenge, then, to put a lid

upon violence. . . Recall the blessed meek?
Maybe we inherit the earth by turning the cheek:
standing firm for justice, but without repaying
violence with violence; not just praying

for a kinder world, but creating one too
with the words we speak and things we do
that show generosity and grace –
the image of Jesus in a compassionate face.

(And if we succumb to anger’s temptations
see Christ’s foregoing call to reconciliation.)

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