Isaiah’s Band

Things stay the same
Though meanings change as time goes on
Where once was peace
And kindness there is hatred – gone so long –

That now there are
But remnants of a world we knew and loved
How this has been
Is more than I can comprehend – it’s shoved –

On us though we’d
Not chosen such if we’d been given a voice
It’s our world too
Yet somehow other people made our choice.

Just yesterday
I went back to that church in town of pain.
I’d been ordained
Yet had I known, I’d not do that again.

It was the start
Of deep outrageous cruelty I see now
But then it was
An aberrant behavior swept somehow –

It swept us off our feet – just time to reach
A helping hand
To fellow travelling one there on that beach

He sobbed and shook
In my arms as we walked the building round
Their public words
Resounding in his soul, the wound profound.

That man of pride
Who from his flooded homeland came and joined us here;
This Language learned
His intellect flowed insight without fear.

But gruff he was
With gentle smile as Dutchmen often do;
“Not good enough
‘Compassion-persons’ only – out with you”.

It was the start
Of purges in the church – now I see clear
It hit me too
Much later, with so many I hold dear:

I saw the chair
Where that young fellow told me “take a hike.
You’re damaged goods
Crossed culture’s lines, now person we dislike”.

I saw the room
Where she and I sat while they tried to toss
Her from that church
But with God’s help we stopped that tragic loss.

I saw the place
Where smugly racist man had queried me;
And where had sat
The woman by whose word I’d been set free.

I saw the man
Who crossed the road, passed by the other side,
Not he, but priestly pios – ran to hide.

Two weeks it took
For them to fry three clergy in their ranks.
All three escaped
And for my part the group attacked – not thanks.

For I by now
Had seen them for the vicious folks they were,
And organized
Fictitious group so laughter in could stir.

Alumni I
Of their vindictive plots and dreary schemes;
“Fricasseed friars”
Us “clergy barbequed” by folks so mean.

But even there,
The humor of my joke they could not bear;
So deeply touched
With Spirit of suspicion, hurt and fear.

The pastor rose
And prayed for “Iran’s folks in tyranny
Who cant protest
Harsh treatment from their government as we.”

I nearly choked
And thought how Nazis worshiped in this way
Nice people too
“It’s others – though they vermin rid, I’d say”.

For Cree he prayed
But they were ones who blocked my going there
At Cree request
To share their teaching (lost) for their repair.

“Who is the one
Indeed more blind than this my servant band?”
(Isaiah’s quote
Of God re: those who work here as God’s hand).