And Finally: April 2017

As I’m making my way through my Doctor of Ministry program, I’ve been sharing with you some of what I’ve been reading, learning and reflecting on. I’ve done that mostly by summarizing some of the content of theology and theory that I’ve encountered, but I’d like to use a different approach for this time. Poetry is a voice that I have long appreciated in others, but that I discovered in myself during my first sabbatical in 2007. It is a voice that enables me not only to deal with issues intellectually (which I love to and am prone to do) but also on a level of feeling and spirit. As I’ve read recently about dynamics of racial injustice in my history as a white Christian American, I’ve had a lot of feelings percolating in my spirit. As I read the book for our Wednesday Lenten series, Prophetic Lament by Soong-Chan Rah, this is a poem that came together in me. I invite you to see what it speaks to and calls out in you.

I could not say
when I first noticed
that the frame was empty.
Before, it was full –
full of the faces of the story:
the right story, the white story.
Before, it was full –
full of everything
needed to keep from seeing what,
was also there:
the faces of the emptiness.
Before, it was full –
and it was enough
to say what was wrong
about the right story:
that I could see.

I could not say
when I first noticed
that the frame was empty.
Perhaps it was when a bullet
entered the frame –
traveling slow motion
from a blue-white gun
over a long distance
into a black back in flight.
My eyes could not believe the bullet –
it does not tell the right story.
It triggers a fear
that there is too much
I have not seen:
all the emptiness coming to sight.
~Pastor Gordon