Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A Poem for Reformation Day

This Sunday, some of us will be celebrating Reformation Sunday. If you're a Lutheran, you're more likely to be celebrating than most, but all Protestants should celebrate. Of course, if Martin Luther hadn't broken away from the Catholic church, someone else would have. There was a lot of dissent when Luther nailed his theses to that Wittenberg door back in 1517, but Luther gets the credit for starting the Protestant Reformation.

Of course, I come from a long line of Lutherans, so I'm inclined to give him all the credit. I have other Protestant friends who scratch their heads and wonder how, exactly, Lutherans are that different from Catholics.

I spent years of my life in Confirmation class, so I could answer that question. But since this isn't my theology blog, I won't do that here.

Instead, I offer a poem for Reformation Day. It was written years ago, during another annoyingly hot October, where I thought about weather and social change--and this poem emerged. It appears in my chapbook. Enjoy!

Reformation Day

The catholic heat holds us
in a tight embrace for what seems an age.
We participate in the sacraments
designed to make us forget the hellishness
of everyday life: afternoons at the pool,
barbecues, beach trips, and for the fortunate few,
a trip to the mountains, a retreat, a pilgrimage.

We pay alms as we must: electric bills,
pool chemicals, cool treats. We pay indulgences
when we can’t avoid it: the air conditioning repair
man, the pool expert who keeps the water pure,
men versed in mysteries we cannot hope to understand.

Finally, the heat breaks. A cold front swoops
down upon us from the north country, a Reformation
bringing with it the promise of other Protestants,
more weather systems to overthrow
the ubiquitous heat, to leave
us breathless with the possibilities of change.

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