The Only Sermon

if we dug a huge grave miles wide, miles deep

and buried every rifle, pistol, knife, bullet, bomb, bayonet

if we jumped upon fleets of tanks and fighter jets

with tool boxes, torches

unwelded them dismantled them turned them into scrap metal

if every light-skinned man in a silk tie said

to every dark-skinned man in a turban

I vow not to kill your children

and heard the same vow in return

if every elected leader agreed to stop lying

if every child was fed as well as racehorses bred to win derbies

if every person with a second home gave it to a person with no home

if every mother buried her parents not her sons and daughters

if every person who has enough said out loud I have enough

if every person violent in the name of God were to find God

we would grow silent, still for a moment, a lifetime

we would hear infants nursing at the breast

hummingbirds hovering in flight

we would touch a canyon wall and feel the earth vibrate

we would hear two lovers sigh across the ocean

we would watch old wounds grow new flesh and jagged scars disappear

as time was layered upon time we would slowly be ready

to begin

Andrea Ayvazian is dean of religious life at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts.

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Sojourners Magazine November-December 2003
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