Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Poetry Tuesday: "Good News Comes to the Sewers"

Often I write poems on Tuesdays, but today is a strange day.  We are in between quarters, a brief pause.  My regular hours are somewhat suspended.  I go into the office earlier.  I don't stay as late.  But my regular writing time is disrupted.

I am still thinking about cancer cells and the angel Gabriel.  I am almost ready to write that poem.  But I am not sure that I will be writing it this morning.  I have some tasks I need to do for my online classes before I go into the office.  And I'm going into the office earlier than usual.  Sigh.

Perhaps I'll write the poem tomorrow, during the day of many meetings, meetings which will cover information that is not new to me.  I've had good luck with that approach before.

Today, let me remember to read a poem or two.  Today, let me post an older poem here.  Today, let me remember the wisdom of children, their enthusiasm for mystical tasks.

After our Worship Together service*, small children wait for a chance to drink the leftover grape juice and to dump the leftover wine into the plants in the butterfly garden.  The wine has been consecrated for the sacrament of communion, and thus, we don't dump it down the drain.

One of the children asked why we didn't, and I found myself hesitating.  She's eight years old and very smart, so we could probably talk about issues of transubstantiation, if I wanted to get deep into theology.  But I didn't.

We talked about waste in our society and how much we throw away.  We talked about how much better it is to dump liquids on our plants than to throw them down the drains.  We talked about how much the plants like the communion wine.

I wish I had said more.  I could have talked about sharing the gifts of Jesus, both with each other and with the plants.  I wish I had reminded the children that not all liquid is safe to put on plants.

I was reminded of a poem I wrote years ago, when I did the clean up tasks after worship and dumped the leftover wine outside.  A parishioner walking past asked me why I did it.

In that situation, too, I hesitated:  go deep theologically or not?  I said, "Consecrated wine should be handled differently."  I was willing to go into the theology of the reason why, but she smiled and moved on.

I thought about consecrated wine going down the drain, and how silly our ministrations must seem to outsiders.  And thus, this poem was born:

Good News Comes to the Sewers

The consecrated wine runs down the drain
and into the local sewer system.
It brings the good news of God’s grace
to the lowliest of fluids flushed
away. It heals the corrosion
in the pipes. In its steady
progress to the ocean, the consecrated
wine tells parables of God’s Kingdom.
The consecrated wine abandons
the form it once held, only to be resurrected
in a sea of salt.

*This service is our interactive, family friendly, much more innovative service.  See this post for more details.

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