Poetic Musings, riding on the bus, and Christian Warning Signs…. Rex McKee, Deacon
Some of you have watched with me the video of ‘Shake the Dust’ by contemporary poet Anis Mojgani, 44-year-old Poet Laureate of Oregon. Anis is one of the most significant poets of our time, in my humble opinion. You can watch it here.
The poem is prophetic, a shout out, to all of us, particularly to those that may believe they are overlooked or unaccounted for. Anis challenges us to tell our stories, have courage, and be thankful. ‘Do not let one moment go by that doesn’t remind you that your heart beats 900 times a day’ and to grab the world, be engaged, and do it again and again. What if we engaged the world by shaking the dust?
Below is a poster clip from Colin, a retired English Anglican Priest I follow that serves as a bookend to Shake the Dust. It is a highly detailed all-inclusive invite and welcome that mirrors the lyrics of ‘One of us’ sung by Joan Osborne….that we sang recently….
If God had a name what would it be?
And would you call it to his face?
If you were faced with Him in all His glory
What would you ask if you had just one question?
If God had a face what would it look like?
And would you want to see
If seeing meant that you would have to believe
In things like heaven and in Jesus and the Saints
And all the prophets?
Here we try to practice the inclusive Gospel of Jesus Christ
This means that here you may be mixing with seekers, searchers,
and those who are bruised
those who limp and those who mourn
and those wounded by war;
refugees, asylum seekers and foreigners of all kinds,
citizens differently abled from yourself,
black, indigenous and people of colour,
bishops, deacons, and priests, men and women, who may be struggling,
leaders who are worn out, clapped out, burnt out,
lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual and allies,
couples and singles and searchers,
children and teenagers, those transitioning through middle age
and those living with hope and experience into maturity,
the wealthy who are trying to get through the eye of a needle,
and the poor who are struggling to maintain their dignity,
the emotionally deprived and harmed,
people of other faiths or of none, fundamentalists and liberals,
radicals and traditionalists,
those who have failed to love
and those who are afraid to receive love:
those rejected by their ministers and their churches;
those who have broken their promises,
those bowed down with burdens,
those who teeter on the brink of breakdown,
those who have been abused physically, emotionally, sexually and spiritually,
those for whom the grip of alcohol or work, drugs or sex,
gambling or unnamed powers, is getting stronger
and those for whom the grip is loosening,
those struggling with faith and doubt,
and goodness knows how many others…
Indeed, anyone like those who Jesus mixed with.
The Christian Church is not a private club
but a public space open to all people of goodwill.
And though we are not yet strong
and vulnerable enough
to show the unconditional love of God at all times,
we hope we are moving in that direction.
How might we shake the dust, and with God hiding in plain sight as a stranger on a bus open to all people, live fully the unconditional Way of Love and practice the inclusive Gospel of Jesus? In what ways are we moving in the right direction?
God, we have no idea of where we are going. We do not see the road ahead of us. We cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do we really know ourselves, and the fact that we think we are following your will does not mean that we are actually doing so.
But we believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And we hope we have that desire in all that we are doing. We hope that we will never do anything apart from that desire. And we know that if we do this you will lead us by the right road, though we may know nothing about it.
Therefore, we will trust you always though we may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. We will not fear, for you are ever with us, and you will never leave us to face our perils alone.
Thomas Merton, Thoughts in Solitude