The Cross is More than a Whisper

I wrote this poem after visiting Israel/Palestine. That trip forever changed how I view war and our world. However, a poem uses specificity to speak to universality. These words came from the Middle East but speak to all injustice, whether across the ocean in an ancient desert, or a few miles away in Memphis, Tennessee or just outside my door in Olive Branch, Mississippi.

If our God is for us then who can ever stop us…

If our God is for us,

then who are we
for?

What do we stand against?

I have to ask, because

the bombs are steady falling.
I watch the babies die,
the mothers cry,
the men turned each day
to animal instinct,
to survival at expense
of love, life, peace.

The bombs fall and we

who claim to believe
our God can do anything…

What the hell are we doing?

How dare we debate doctrine

as our brothers die.
How dare we who follow the Christ
throw stones and walk past
the beaten man in the ditch?
How dare we side
with human power?

The bombs fall.

The people cry.
The bodies are broken
and peace will die.

Because we stand by

motionless
and let this happen.

We are letting this happen.

We quote the Old Testament

and Revelation
but never Jesus.
We can’t quote Jesus
to defend ourselves
because deep down we know
that Jesus is ashamed.

How dare we claim

not?

You go to Israel and watch

the agony and hate,
watch as you read
the Sermon on the Mount
and then you tell me
if Jesus is proud
of all we see
in his homeland.

Was the cross only for me?

Was the cross only a whisper

when it’s meant to be a scream?

 

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