The Captive Jesus - Poem by James Tipp
The envelope arrives,
Contains a thick expensive catalogue
Everything we need to be the people of God!
Embroidered copes, stoles of every hue.
Collars to fit the fat and thin men and women of God.
Decorated boxes to keep the wafers in
Tabernacles to keep the host in, wooden Jesus’
Carved with European faces, hands held high.
Whatever happened to the Jesus?
Whose life despised such trappings?
Whose condemnation of the temple and priest
Caused ordinary men and women to follow
The one who wore sandals, said to his followers
Go and do not take a purse or food with you.
Whatever happened to the subversive Jesus?
Who said it was harder for the rich to enter
The Kingdom of God than for the camel
To pass through the eye of the needle
Whatever that means, it’s still difficult.
It’s difficult to see this Jesus in the catalogue
It’s difficult to find this Jesus in the church
He’s been made captive by the very things
He despised, fought against, the fleas
That live on other fleas, ad infinitum
He fought against anyone standing
Before God other than himself
Risen glorified, the man of access
The door by which all are saved.
But now we hold him captive
Think by ritual we have control
The right words said, by the right person
Brings him down into all he despised.
Then we wonder why we are irrelevant.
The catalogue is just a symptom
Of a people who have forgotten
He is always there, he is the risen one
Alive and ever present, still touching lives
Still reaching out across all cultures
Still exiting people with freedom
That cannot be found in catalogues
No matter how costly the production.
Often never found in this reconstructed Temple
As gaudy and costly as the first
Yet now there is no excuse.
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