Meditations on Breaking the Law | Sojourners

Meditations on Breaking the Law

If we could split ourselves   like a crack in the cement     (children's names written when wet       a heart a flower a handprint)   like that mystical bread     (calloused hands holding up hunger       and night sweats and the one we once loved)   we would say in our first voice: Law            and Order out of Chaos we would listen and obey what is right   teach our children to look both ways     (packing ourselves in a bubble       paper wrap-safe for shipping          from this world to the next) and this would be good and called for and proper  but sometimes we would say in our second voice:            Marcellus (age 9)   Marquita (age 6) Titus (age 5) Regina (age 13)     Debbie  Danisha  and  Diante       it would be a candle song in the dark times     and when the winged parts of our democracy     begin to topple off the pillars' heads       crushing more than names on the threshing         floor of the Rotunda    and when to be a citizen is to be an autumn fawn     caught at night in oncoming brightnesses    and when the only hand that can reach out     is the one that has already been reached to       once before in a cold creek, in a white robe   then indeed those hands must reach because what seemed all order is chaos  it takes a delicate hand to hold the brush that daubs  in the details of a country, a hand not weighted by a weapon  (for such are the tools that construct chaos)  and yet with both tongues we would praise the balance- that golden thread is all that holds us in the end  

Rose Marie Berger is a pastor of Sojourners Community in Washington, D.C.

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Sojourners Magazine March-April 1996
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