They call what came first chaos,
said You were there, hovering --
waiting for the perfect moment
to unleash the light and make
something out of all our nothing.
They tell me when You made us,
You held us up to the light and smiled
because we looked just like You,
but most days, I struggle to see any resemblance.
We’re a long way from Your garden.
I’ve built my heart on fault lines, so
it shakes a lot, and I know where the cracks are.
My hands bear the scars from
too many nights spent trying to
burn myself down.
Do I still look like You?
I watch as Your people take up
Your name in vanity --
in their fight for the sanctity of life,
they dismember their neighbors.
Your people, they don't look like You.
They praise the powerful as
they trample the lowly,
the echoes of their shouts
sound like cries for crucifixion.
They build their walls, trusting only
what their eyes can see.
They call Your gospel delusional
and mock me for believing
that You might have actually meant it
when you said
blessed are the peacemakers
forsake all for the sake of the poor
love your neighbor as you love yourself.
They say I’m crazy to pray
for Your kingdom to come,
but my heart is too claustrophobic
to live anywhere else.
Your book says woe to those who find comfort in Zion.
So many of Your people turned a blind eye
when Alan Kurdi’s tiny, lifeless body
washed up on the beach in Turkey.
He was three, but he was brown, and
Your people had to protect their own,
but who knew that protecting your own
looked so much like doing nothing
as they’re slaughtered
and church sanctuaries?
Apparently, those lives are the price we pay for freedom,
but who knew that freedom looked so much like
two and a half million people incarcerated?
Your people, they’re willing to fight to the death
to keep their arsenals of AR-15’s,
to keep the gays from getting wedding cakes,
to keep all the brown people out,
to keep trans kids from using the bathroom,
and to keep the Confederate flag flying
over the capital of South Carolina,
and they call it patriotism.
In South Carolina last week,
a white man offered cash
to anyone willing to lynch his black neighbor.
My mother, she still calls white privilege a myth.
But You? You were willing to fight
to the death to get to us,
to tear down the walls,
and I can hear the echoes of freedom
in the sound of demolition --
your perfect love casting out fear,
reminding us who we are
before anyone else had the chance to call us
You were a foreigner in the world
so that we could be citizens of the Kingdom,
and Your hands, they bear the scars.
You died to name us Beloved.
So they can have the momentary comfort of Zion,
but give me the Jesus who fought
to the death to send death to hell.
Give me the Jesus who walked
out of the grave and into a garden.
You were always a gardener at heart,
speaking light into the darkness and
loving dead things like me back to life.
This piece was originally shared as part of Downtown Community Fellowship's summer psalm series.