by Marijke Strong
A six week commitment to writing has shown me how habitually I pile up words, often in play but sometimes also (if I’m honest) to divert attention from the stark truths crouching inside me. Call it chronic obfuscation. This week the result was a lectionary text poem based on Mahalia Jackson’s cry, “Tell them about the dream, Martin!” It was interesting at best but not honest.
Grand Jury decisions swing naked between us, wars continue around the globe, children are sex-trafficked, and Christians sit in their comfortable homes (I sit in my comfortable home). Piling up words will not do. While reading, “Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy laden,” I remembered a sermon I heard recently about waiting: Advent is not only about us waiting for God but about God waiting for us. God is waiting for our hearts to turn. I think the pile of words fell. Prayer was reduced to one syllable, which God and I spoke together.
All we said to each other was, “Come,”
and I was reduced to embarrassed tears.
You invited me, “Come.” I pleaded with you, “Come.”
We stood belly to belly, holding hands, saying, “come,” “come.”
That was our conversation.
And it was enough.
I wonder if you stand belly to belly with the universe,
and the only word between us
(spoken together) is
Marijke Strong is the minister for congregational care and community life at Fellowship Reformed Church in Holland, Michigan.