Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Lent 1, Yr B)

AND HE WAS WITH THE WILD BEASTS
(Genesis 9: 8-17, Mark 1: 9-15)

Jesus knows God loves the earth,
its beasts: he thinks of Noah,
the families of animals
patiently gathered, the deluge
survived, looking wearily
out of the ark onto
what was left
of what he’d known,
wreckage all around,
the twisted bits of wood
that had been trees, rubble
that had been houses, mud
covering everything, mud
and the stench of decay,
his eyes filling with tears;
and God — like Noah
grieving the ruin
and memory of beauty —
sorrowing, repenting
of destruction, declaring
“never again, never again”:
a covenant made,
its sign displayed
in brilliance in the clouds,
hovering somewhere
over the animals that,
scattered from the battered hulk,
begin their search for food
on the shattered ground.

*

Jesus knows God loves the earth,
its many peoples,
he knows God wants
to take them into an ark
of compassionate love,
to save them from destruction
of their own making.
So he carries the brokenness
of the world into this
pathless place of longing —
as he is with the beasts
in the wilderness,
in the hungering and searching,
so he is with us in our hungry
search for love;
as he is with the beasts in needing
shelter from the sun and cold,
so he is with us in our need
for peace and joy.
And as the angels minister to him,
so he will walk love’s paths among us,
he will feed us in our emptiness
and comfort us in the wasteland
of our sorrows.
A fresh covenant of love
is waiting to be displayed,
and he has come
to be its sign forever.

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