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Keith Wallis

Poetry Challenge 2016

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In the church,

 

 

His spirit dwells not

 

 

in the stone, wood,

 

 

or stained glass.

 

 

He is not an icon in the temple

 

 

kept behind the veil.

 

 

He is not controlled

 

 

by boundaries or doctrine,

 

 

despite the parables

 

 

we preach.

 

 

He is

 

 

in the parking lot of the supermarket,

 

 

the main street of a borough,

 

 

the sidewalk of a slum,

 

 

waiting to be encountered.

 

 

He is untethered

 

 

from our expectations.

 

 

He is

 

 

more than our simplistic views

 

 

can comprehend.

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What was kept behind the veil

 

 

but the Spirit's yearning swell

 

 

to reveal,

 

 

to tear the curtain, vertically,

 

 

make the Jew and Gentile bring

 

 

adoration to outer courts

 

 

at earth's ends

 

 

for estranged hearts?

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Adoration to outer courts

 

 

where the Gentiles roamed

 

 

Where the women gathered

 

 

where the merchants proffered

 

 

their wares. With weighted scales

 

 

They cheated those people

 

 

Trying to atone. Sacrifice made merchandise,

 

 

Angered His son. No Baal, no Asherah, no

 

 

Queen of Heaven, but a golden idol of

 

 

Denarii held sway over those hearts. 

 

 

"My Father's house is a house of prayer!"

 

 

Can we not remember that?

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They cheated those people,

 

 

they who see themselves as justified.

 

 

Once they were kings and Pharisees

 

 

controlling the poor

 

 

and uneducated

 

 

with superstitions, rituals and laws.

 

 

Today they are politicians

 

 

with vile serpent like tongues

 

 

and tempting lies.

 

 

They cheated those people

 

 

in the Messiah's day

 

 

as in the present.

 

 

Convincing the underclass of society

 

 

that they lack value

 

 

compared to those who forge decrees

 

 

and interpret doctrine for their own use.

 

 

Today we divide

 

 

by origin,

 

 

or shade of flesh.

 

 

We stand for this truth

 

 

or that fallacy,

 

 

always right and never wrong.

 

 

Remember always,

 

 

He came for the abused,

 

 

He came for the overburdened,

 

 

He came for those

 

 

humbled

 

 

by a diseased culture.

 

 

He came for those

 

 

who did not expect Him to look in their direction.

 

 

And the pious, the cheaters,

 

 

could do nothing but watch.

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With superstitions, rituals and laws

 

 

watch me, magic!  There go my flaws.

 

 

Some things we all ought to have done,

 

 

but I make this stage and herald each clause.

 

 

Who dare call me, "Hypocrite!"

 

 

You are the audience which pays me for tricks.

 

 

Yet, once in a while we sneer,

 

 

when someone like Amos pleads amidst our jeers,

 

 

telling us moderns, "Repent!"

 

 

I'd give my right arm if I knew what they meant.

 

 

Postscript:

 

 

I shut down my show yesterday.

 

 

An old man's street kindness knocked me off my stage.

 

 

I wondered where was the applause.

 

 

He smiled and said, "Jesus gets glory through us".

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You are the audience which pays me for tricks.

 

 

Have you not heard of my reputation?

 

 

I can perform whatever it is that you ask.

 

 

But I prefer that you listen to what I say

 

 

and pay little attention to what I do.

 

 

My words, print on paper

 

 

mean so much more than the blind gaining sight.

 

 

You seek physical manifestations

 

 

while I wait for your spiritual acceptance.

 

 

There is no miracle greater than my thoughts.

 

 

So don't expect me to stand on a stage and make the paralytic walk.

 

 

Don't expect me to come down from my cross with my wounds healed.

 

 

It is not your body that I come seeking to embrace,

 

 

but your heart.

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My words, print on paper

 

 

So much power they contain 

 

 

Just look back on creation and see them in action

 

 

If you will just believe 

 

 

That same power you can receive

 

 

For they bring life anew

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For they bring life anew,

 

 

those words, God-breathed, His clues,

 

 

parables explained,

 

 

and the riddle of death's parable

 

 

crushed beneath the Good News,

 

 

we shall live!

 

 

Live, Jesus said.

 

 

Unfathomably, in abundance.

 

 

I don't care to doubt.

 

 

That God is, that He rewards

 

 

is too obvious, too experienced and shared,

 

 

every succeeding generation

 

 

having failed to refute

 

 

the blessings of trust

 

 

foretasted by Abraham,

 

 

served in full-bloomed taste to us,

 

 

in Christ.

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We shall live!

 

 

Dance

 

 

on the white washed bones

 

 

of those

 

 

who preached otherwise.

 

 

The Nazarene has embraced the Ragamuffins,

 

 

promised them the spirit

 

 

of holiness

 

 

and fishing nets

 

 

full of men saved

 

 

from the pious voices

 

 

condemning them of their sins.

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. . . . now, how could I resist! :)

 

 

The Nazarene has embraced the Ragamuffins,

 

 

world without their wreck, Amen,

 

 

the world of the Kingdom of Jesus,

 

 

cleansing Blood cleaning sin, them,

 

 

and all those who endure by not casting stones,

 

 

these shall know brokenness, and before seeing the Throne

 

 

the high-hanging fruit of Heaven,

 

 

plucked by the Son

 

 

and its flavors tasted in blessed daily bread. 

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These shall know brokenness, and before seeing the Throne,

 

 

the liberty of having no veil will dwell in their thoughts,

 

 

the opportunity to live without fear will intoxicate,

 

 

and only loyalty to Christ will tame it,

 

 

for worship is the fire-proofing for the Fire;

 

 

gratitude is proof that the new man prays.

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Gratitude is the proof that the new man prays.

Humility, the evidence that he has laid

His life on the altar.

Basted with holy oil and kindled with dead works,

He awaits the divine spark,

The eternal Purifier of souls.

Ignite, worthless chaff!

Blow, Spirit Wind.

Send up a signal calling men to marvel.

For from the ashes will rise a newborn heart 

No phoenix can match.

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The eternal Purifier of souls.

 

 

Who was and is and is to come

 

 

Has fashioned our salvation

 

 

After the almighty three in one.

 

 

Seated in heavenly places

 

 

With the Holy Son

 

 

in positional completion

 

 

At his coming shall be done

 

 

Meantime, the battle rages

 

 

Who will run the race?

 

 

Flesh to do as it wishes

 

 

Spirit's path of godly grace?

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With the Holy Son,

 

 

Spirit speaks and Father loves,

 

 

each to manifest

 

 

One God, I Am,  Omnipotent.

 

 

Immanuel in a stall,

 

 

donkeys brayed over Mary's shawl,

 

 

highest praise conveyed

 

 

by an angel where shepherds grazed.

 

 

What greater show of force,

 

 

than God with humans in their form,

 

 

feeling how we live

 

 

to best conform His messages?

 

 

Who knows when the Child first spoke,

 

 

but breezes must have moved as strokes

 

 

to cool the summer time

 

 

and usher once more praise from skies.

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