Essay

Spider

By June 19, 2016 2 Comments
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by Steven Rodriguez

I came into the sanctuary
in the tissue paper silence of Sunday morning
the echoes of the coming congregation
already charging the walls
a sweatered kid down a playground slide.

I came to prepare the table
but found it already occupied
a dead spider on the communion cloth.

At my installation service
the minister, addressing the congregation,
stopped in mid-charge
as a massive spider slow dropped
before his eyes
its legs were fingers
recalling an etude.

Those in front saw it for a second
and then it was gone
we couldn’t pause the installation
to side quest a spider hunt
so it disappeared.

And here it is
dead at the Lord’s table
bug juice pooled
in a halo of a stain.

Jonathan Edwards said
that God holds us spiders
over the flames of Hell
But this one found himself
gently laid to rest
on the table first swarmed
by those other sensual insects
earwigs, moths, and pillbugs
crawling out at night
like any Magdalene or Nicodemus would.
“All we Karamazovs are such insects.”

Looking at the deceased
he’s a plump fellow
legs upstretched in brambled orison.
I think I’ll christen him Dmitri
if it’s not too late.

(I am, after all,
that guy who sees his name tag
on the welcome table
as he’s leaving the convention

on the last day.)
Will we enter the wedding feast
and go straight to the name cards
all in judged, sorted, regimented rows?

Most weddings we are doomed
to sit at the awkward table.
If each of us only knows the groom
then none of us know anything.
After introducing our faces,
we anxiously look around for an escape
we drum our spider fingers on the table
recalling an etude.

Jonathan Edwards said
that God holds us spiders
over the flames of Hell.
But this one found himself
dropped into a banqueting table
where the only flame is the Christ candle.
Forgive my bug’s-eye-view of your grace
but from here I don’t see an edge or border to this feast.

Steven Rodirguez is a minister of the Reformed Church in America, serving as the pastor of Lakeview Community Church (RCA) in Greece, New York. You can follow him on Twitter @smarcorodriguez.

Steven Rodriguez

Steven Rodriguez pastors Lakeview Community Church in Greece, New York. You can follow him on Twitter @smarcorodriguez.

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