Friday, October 22, 2010

Marah: A Meditation on John 11:1-12:8

This post continues the theme begun in Delay: A Poem earlier this week.

Sickness in the house.
Unaccustomed weakness,
Sleepless nights-
"We must send for Him."
A message sent -
"Your friend is sick."
No demands.
He knows the need;
He loves us;
He will come.

Counting the hours,
The miles-
The patient takes a turn.
Lamplight vigil-
Not much time left.

The messenger returns,
Alone.
"This sickness is not unto death,
But for the glory of God,
For the glory of His Son."

He’s coming.
I knew He would!
Or else-
The official’s daughter-
A healing at a distance?
"Not unto death…"
He loves us;
He will heal my brother.

+++

Within hours,
A sudden change
For the worse.
Where is He?
Why hasn’t He come?
Unexpected delay wakes
Doubts of His love,
Not knowing
His underestimated love
Wakes deeper faith.

Lazarus dies.
"Not unto death?"
Remembered healings…
Perhaps still-?
What agony of despairing hope,
As days and night blur
In the perpetual midnight of my tears.

One day passes,
Two,
The third day-
Soul takes flight,
Hope gives out,
Shut away with Lazarus
Behind the stone wall of death.

+++

Children running,
"He’s coming!"
Too little, too late.
Sitting here,
Surrounded by these shards of shattered dreams,
Left staring at the gaping wound
Where Love once was…
Why does He come?
He didn’t love enough
To keep Death away.
Why now?

Let Him come, then.
And let Martha meet Him.
I doubt He even notices
I’m not there.
If He really cared,
He would have hastened to our need.
How could I have been so foolish
As to trust Him?

"This sickness will not end in death…"
If He deceived us once,
What of the rest?
I should have known
It was too good
To be true.

+++

"The teacher is asking for you, Mary."
He noticed.
Have I misjudged Him?

Running,
Half-blind with tears,
Crumpling in a heap at His feet,
Full of compressed questions,
Accusations exploding into sobs--
"Lord,
If you had been here…"

The look on His face…
Bull’s-eye.
But the bow splintered
In my mouth,
The shared pain in His eyes
Puncturing my bitterness.
He did love Lazarus.
Surely He could have –

"Remove the stone."
Now? After four days?
A cryptic prayer,
A shout-
Lazarus?
Lazarus!

Fresh tears,
Ashamed to rejoice,
Ashamed not to…
He does love,
Loves me,
Loves us.
I believe;
Have mercy on my unbelief.

+++

A banquet-
Jesus there.
No sitting in the house this time!

I will trust you
With my brother,
My sister,
Myself,
My tears.

No more playing it safe,
Holding back a little something
Just in case.

Empty me of every last hoarded drop
Of cherished treasure
That keeps me at arm’s length
From You.

My all is Yours.

The relic of my doubts-
Perfume purchased for the corpse
Partaking of the feast-
Alabaster doubts
Shattered at His feet,
The expensive fragrance
Of true faith,
The costly lesson
of trust against all evidence.

Marah no longer.
Made sweet by merest contact with His feet,
Whose sweetness fills the house.

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