Saturday, July 24

Eli Eli lama sabachthani?

Eli Eli lama sabachthani?

where were you
when the embryo
hatched and was formed
by blood-spattered hyenas
tearing hope from
limb to limb and
laughing gleefully
at the mockery

where were you
when the embryo
fell and love
offered a hit
of a crack pipe
covered in symbols
flashing through
the ghetto offering
escape from the
desolate heat

the hands that
should be reaching
out are cut off at
the wrists bleeding
sanctimonious tripe
in defiance of the call
to love the
least , lost, and lonely
while sentencing each
embryo to death

guilty rings through
the room as we
continue to bleed the
embryo out with
ignorance born of
fear and shame and
the lie of the only way
being my way standing
on the corner shouting
belligerently to
repent or die

revelation rings through
the cosmos as the
embryo marches the
guilty to sheol while
silent tears are birthed
wresting the stumbling
breath of hope into a
silent scream reaching
to the ramparts and
calling forth the final
battle fought with
easter lilies
© 2009, Terri Stewart

Lenten Reflection
Shepherd your people with your staff,
the flock of your inheritance,
That dwells apart in a woodland,
in the midst of Carmel.
Let them feed in Bashan and Gilead,
as in the days of old;
As in the days when you came from the land of Egypt,
show us wonderful signs.
Who is there like you, the God who removes guilt
and pardons sin for the remnant of his inheritance;
Who does not persist in anger forever,
but delights rather in clemency,
And will again have compassion on us,
treading underfoot our guilt?
You will cast into the depths of the sea all our sins;
You will show faithfulness to Jacob,
and grace to Abraham,
As you have sworn to our fathers
from days of old.

-Micah 7:14-15, 18-20


Off topic:  Last night I could hardly sleep.  It seems I have pushed my body too hard and it is rebelling against me.  Again.  My left hand repeatedly lost the feeling in the fingers and thumb.  Started doing that tingling thing that hurts.  How something can hurt when you have a desensitization is so weird!  Then, when I awoke, my knees and wrists hurt so badly that I couldn’t jump in and out of bed like normal.  We have a very tall bed with steps.  Usually I just launch myself into it.  I had to use the steps because my wrists couldn’t handle the strain.  This is sooo not good.  It means one of two things (1) my thyroid is screwed up again or (2) I really possibly may have rheumatoid arthritis.  Blech to both possibilities.  I do not have time for either of these possibilities.  Debbie…I don’t know how you do grad school and rheumatoid arthritis. 

So, in the interest of being gentle and compassionate with myself, today’s Lenten study will be a reprise of a poem from the past with a tracking of some of my thoughts today and then.

The above poem was written after one of the most heart wrenching nights I had in the detention center.  I was sitting with three boys during free time and we were playing a game of cards.  I gently opened the conversation with, “What do you want when you get out of here?”  The results of that conversation was something amazing that is forever burned into my heart.  There was so much pain and so little hope that it rocked me to my core.  We were able to take a normal game of cards and turn it into an extraordinary event.

I had a lot of processing to do that night.  I know what the statistics are for an impoverished, African American youth, with incarcerated parents are.  They suck.  This kid will not be anything but another statistic.  So then, what the heck am I doing if there is no hope and we are all statistics?  There was definitely a moment or two (or 10) of bleakness.  I sat down with my trusty computer and cranked out the Lament Psalm above.  If there is any justice in the cosmos, these kids will get to confront the powers that put them in the untenable situation they find themselves in.  So, where is our hope? 

Our hope is in the easter lily.  Why the easter lily?  It is a symbol of resurrection.  Of change.  Of transformation.  From the earthly statistic state of things to an other-worldly transformation of life.  And the lily is not violent.  To become the lily, we must put down our sword and our vice and embrace the earth.  The cosmos.  Each other.  Go ahead…hit me with a lily.  I’m totally okay with that!  It won’t hurt no matter how hard you try.  How do we deliver the easter lily to each other?  Through love.  Just keep loving each other and opening our hearts to the other and we will transform and resurrect the world.  Through love, the Kingdom will be found in the hands and feet of her servants.

So I encourage you to love one another. 

Shalom and Amen.


  • Molly

    “I have the soul of a monk, the heart of a prophet, and the wisdom of my cloud of witnesses.” You name yourself so well.

    Terri, thank you for this post. Just when I am sick of the dullness of a paper I think means nothing, I am led back to the realities of the broken world. This dumb paper may lead me to some better thoughts on how to bring healing to a world that rarely feels heard.

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