an original poem | Sojourners

an original poem

the cross:
death's intersection
with birth
the cross as zen koan, zen master's
question to novice: the question
given to the seeker like an
arrow in the back at a point
where neither hand can reach

the cross: wound worn as
the wound made small, beautiful,

the wound hanging beneath
the chin, the scandal perishing
in familiarity, the unread
gospel beneath the adam's apple

the cross, a master says, is
like a buddhist's meditation
cushion: the place where the
"I" of one's life subsides,
shrinks from domination, is
absorbed in vulnerability

the cross as place of silence,
the place where chatter
stumbles into silence

the cross as last name, family
tree, the route of one's

the cross as sign of judgment:
crucifixion allows the hand
to hold nothing
the cross being no shelter
at all, no cathedral, no piece
of real estate

the cross as paradox, the
announcement of meaning
beyond survival: "easier for
a camel to pass through the
eye of a needle than for
a rich man to enter into
the kingdom of heaven."
but in death there are no
rich men. At the last
moment we are all beggars.

the cross as wedding's
blessing: "on this sign are we
joined: I give you my life,
I give away my life, I give
my life to the plowing."

When this article appeared, Jim Forest was editor of Fellowship Magazine, which was published by the Fellowship of Reconciliation.

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