by Ken Sehested
I would love to think approaching
this table conferred visions of
leisurely picnics in green meadows
beside gentle bubbling streams,
with cooling breeze matched by
warm sunshine and birdsong in
nearby long leaf pine and hemlock.
Truth is, it’s more like unleavened
bread, hastily prepared under dark
skies when death angels rout the
countryside, on the eve of betrayal
and the cusp of terror, in a land on
the brink of ecological collapse and
lead-lined water pipes poisoning
the young and an infestation of
woolly adelgid leaching the life
from majestic forests.
You will be disappointed if you come
here anticipating ease and distraction—
and, if so, consider making a quick exit
now. If not, if you brave the danger
circling this table, I can promise that
you will find sustenance, and persevering
power, Pentecostal power, for the living
of these days, come what may.
When he left, Jesus said something like
this to his friends, “I didn’t say it would
be easy. I said it would be worth it.”
Come, friends of Jesus, summon your
nerve. You’ve nothing to lose but your
fears. And the Beloved Community to gain.
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