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by Steven Rodriguez
First, feel powerless.
Watch your child
duly present in church
catechized, Vee Bee Essed,
awakened at camp
and now everywhere but here
on a Sunday morning.
He is not an angry atheist
nor a detached agnostic
not even “spiritual but not religious.”
He just comes home for Christmas Eve
and volunteers to watch the oven
while you are gone for the hour.
Every year she humors you,
brings her family to the churchy fundraiser,
the churchy picnic, the churchy concert
that is, barring all conflicts
with the Big Game,
the divorce hearing,
or the twenty-three
bleeping mobile notifications.
Remember how she would not eat
what was on her high chair
unless you caught her off guard?
So watch and wait for God
to sneak the sacrament
with the vroom vroom of a spoon.
Remember how he would scream
when the tiniest drop of water
pinched his eyes?
Now you pray
that each aspersion for grown ups
would hurt less than the last one.
How long O Lord, will you make me ask
if his pain is from you?
When you drive home from your visit
and the faith of your family
by all appearances
lies dormant under every chat,
you are Moses on the playground
you watch for the conquest of grace
through a scratched plastic porthole.
Their decampment for the Promised Land
will probably elude your night watch and prayer vigil.
If you do not see the salvation of your children
ask for a reverent adoration of these secret things.
Spoon fed by God,
at the Lamb’s high chair we sing.
While your mind is elsewhere
the Word chases us home
to the fount of every blessing
like a storm in the rearview mirror.
Windows down, we feel the ionized air crackle
with a power not our own.
Every one of God’s promises is a yes;
We were predestined to hope.
“Election is the source of every saving good.”
Steven Rodriguez 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.