Religious Impotence

01 Dec

I stood over an 8 year old’s hospital bed early, early this morning (around 1AM I believe it was). A cancerous mass discovered in her abdomen affecting, infecting kidney, liver, spleen, lung — a mass that it turns out is big as her head. Prayers? Pronouncements? Pontifications? Platitudes? What do you say, what do you do as you stand there?

I came home and wrote this poem of sorts at about 2:30AM. This would be your cue to move on to happier fare — find the blog with the happy little elf and the uplifting quote. This is what I had…have. Following it is the speech that has been ringing in my head all day. One of my favorites, actually. I remember seeing this (from The Hospital with George C. Scott) on the big screen with my dad back in ’71. Finding it on YouTube just now and hearing it again…I’m speechless. This is Psalm 88 country. All is not calm and bright. We are pressed down, but not crushed. But oh how we are pressed down. This is a confession that disqualifies pastors with many in our culture, but I’ll risk it. George C. Scott says it sublimely. Power to the impotent! What power, is, in fact, in this powerless place?

Cherub faced girl
Sleeping in heavenly peace
Little knowing, little comprehending
She just stepped off world’s end
Waters bear her forth
Uncertain shores

Cherub faced girl
An enemy devours within
Innocent organs defiled, invaded
Yet peace

O Mass of contradictions
Tangled twisted contorted
But that’s me not her
How should I feel?
Why are we here?
What do we do?
Our strutting postures
Such grand stories we tell
So confident, so sure,
Book chapter and verse on unstammering tongue
Demonstrations of grace?
Placebo religion
Stories of victory
Hollow, teasing, taunting
Round and round I drive
Holy campus now empty
Land of mute suspension

Cherub faced girl
Who will bear you forth?
Cherub faced girl
Who will bear me forth?

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Posted by on December 1, 2011 in Lamentations, musings, Suffering


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