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Meeting at First Church
I’ve entered an incarnated coma.
Images have been frozen in place for 40 years: the biblical equivalent of a “long, long time.”
The wood has a nice patina,
Encasing this life supported shell in a sort of shellacked beauty.
The man in the slightly tilted picture on the wall has changed races,
Moving from his original Caucasian towards the ever-deepening yellow of those in the Far East he went to save.
The map of his journey has joined in this coloring. Its suspended borders fixed
even as the world outside shifts allegiances and boundaries.
The Jesus face hanging across the room is still the white man he never was.
His gaze takes him far from here;
Longing to be freed from this space;
Longing to go outside
Maybe for a smoke –
Maybe to watch the neighbor kids play with their dog.
Anywhere but here.
The American flag next to him hangs limp –
Never having been allowed to unfurl in a real wind.
The history of the people it represents having added chapter upon chapter
since its colored cloth was strung on its pole.
The room takes a breath.
People enter, talk, laugh, eat.
But it’s not life. Not even close.
Those who enter here, enter at their own risk.
The air is stale.
The heart of this place beats with the help of dwindling endowment and
faded “Welcome to Worship” signs.
Its end has come and gone unnoticed.
The same will be for me.
My time will go unnoticed by these comatose walls.
Only Jesus will watch me leave.
Once again, a church basement meeting
Bathed in light that nourishes no growth
Scattered seeds uprooted from our own soil:
(or is it soul?)
Called together by some nameless Great Farmer
Who is always acknowledged
But rarely comes below the ground.
Thrown into this pit as though this meeting will help us grow.
Perhaps it will
Perhaps it will not kill us.
We’re tilling the soil again
That’s a good idea!
Let’s talk about growth!
See what it is that Christ is calling us to be?
Won’t we be beautiful!?
But don’t forget the ‘what ifs’
The ‘dangers of change’
The ‘that request should have gone through proper channels.’
Keep your head down
And whatever you do
Keep coming to the basement
Our next meeting here will be…