It is so easy, in this current climate, to feel discouraged and full of anxiety as our world has been flipped upside down. My hope is that this poem helps to settle the sorrows and calm the fears through this reminder of who God is. For me, when I fix my eyes on Jesus; on what He has done in my life and throughout history, I am filled with tremendous peace. This peace comes from a place of confidence and trust in who God is. God is abounding in love and faithfulness (psalm 86:15), God is our ever-present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1-3), He is our refuge (Deuteronomy 33:27), victorious (1 Corinthians 15:57) and we are more than conquerors through Christ who loves us (Roman 8:37).
Tonight we dance.
With Electrified bodies
With minds floating far from concerns,
Tonight we riot.
All leather skirts and red lips to the ready
We use our fashion to scream at convention
At the uniform
At the mundane business of the working.
For tonight is Saturday
Every hour of this night is our own.
So let us lavish in laughter, in dancing and gin
As we brace ourselves for the week to begin.
For if my body was a temple
It would be a shelter for the homeless
A second chance for sinners
A gateway to God
Through the love that radiates in us all
There would be no pretence here
No “holier than thou”
No role playing
No mask wearing
Just a group of God-fearing sinners
Trying to make their way Home.
There would be no saints,
For I am not one
For the good that I desire
I do not do,
But the evil that I do not want
This I practise
And it is in this temple
That only this kind of biblical vulnerability will reside.
Where there is no shame
For the reality of our human experience.
For all the ways we sin and fall short
Of God’s glory
Time and time again.
My temple would be
An abundance of loving arms
Mirroring that of the father of the prodigal son
Welcoming all home
Like estranged family
Ready to start anew
Oh, how eagerly God welcomes us home
Oh, how he yearns for us
How he pines and bleeds for us
But alas, my body is not a temple
This temporal cage does not deserve such recognition
My body is more like a prison of flesh
That my soul battles in
Constantly battling against my own human nature
Drifting me further and further away from the divine
May the Lord help marry my nature to my nurture
Help to bring peace to these two duelling entities
My innate sinful inclination
My holy burning aspiration
Only in you, Lord, will I find
Harmony and wholeness in this fatal human condition
For this I know:
Your Grace is sufficient,
Your Love is enough.
I am the tower
I am home
I am family
I am security
I am where safety should be
I am where you can let your guard down
Two opposing forces cause a spark
Left in me because too many believe me to be
An eye sore,
The reason you clutch your purse tighter,
A reminder of the unattractive reality of poverty,
When you would much rather
Be left behind the veil of ignorance
Wealth gifts you.
So they give me a ten million pound paint job
To cover the cracks of financial inequality
Without actually dealing with the problem
– This becomes the fuel
To the fire left in me by the scornful eyes of the rich
By the powerful
Who measure worth by bank balances
They are the fuel to the fire that grows in me in the quiet, unsuspecting cover of night.
But, unfortunately, in this case
The fire is not a metaphor for love
The fire is not a metaphor for passion, for intensity, for purpose, for pleasure.
The fire is a fire
The fire is death
The fire is pain
The fire is destruction
The fire is neglect
The fire is the government, the biggest furnace of corruption
The fire is a life destroying entity
The fire is trauma
The fire is hate
The fire is what happens when we neglect social wounds; such as classism, racism and inequality
For so long
They begin to fester and persist.
For I am no more
No more am I the myriad of lives, loved ones, hopes and dreams that inhabited me.
I am now a derelict shadow
That will not be not be ignored, society.
Society is the ashes, in which the
Phoenix will rise.
It was in those moments
That I was most sure of you
The moment our chests deflate
After fits of laughter
On the common room floor
The moment we all collapse home
From collective exhaustion
From the splendour and awe
The night gifted us
The moment our quartet sings in unexpected unison
To songs we never knew we could recite
The moment the most mundane tasks
Together are filled with bursts of delight
The moment when you feel
And yet fundamentally safe
It is in that sweet paradox
It is in those moments
That I am most sure of us
This is a home.