a heartfelt promise scrawled on loose leaf in troubled times
i am willing to give
my very life
for the sake of peace.
deep-down, gut level, no-holds-barred
pledge to God that I give it all
for a more just and peaceful world.
i stuffed my note under Mary’s stone feet at a local church and things began to change.
i think of Peter near a charcoal fire in the shadow of the cross –
proud Peter who would never deny the One he claimed to follow.
the fear factor . . . cowering before the crowd
heart pierced by a condemnatory caw.
i know you, Peter . . .
feet of clay.
another charcoal fire
this time on a misty-morning beach –
where fresh bread and fish are grill slapped
by Jesus waving tongs like a crazy Greek grandma.
tightening his apron, he barks at the boys . . .
come and get it . . . eat up
no time for confession today.
between turning fish and tearing loaves, Jesus, like a harried mama with too many kids,
gets straight to the point . . .
only . . .
do you love me? do you love me? do you love me?
there’s too much work to do, too many mouths to feed to get hung up on the past.
follow me, he says . . .
there’s a belt
with your name on it . . .
a cop on the corner
waiting with handcuffs . . .
a mob . . .
a cell . . .
a death . . .
and – i swear –
. . . a resurrection.
around the block beneath Mary’s cold feet is
an indictment bearing my name.
a summons to the corner of my conscience where the harsh crow of a cock calls me out
for a thousand betrayals borne of cowardice and a lukewarm heart.
guilty! guilty! guilty!
but then I catch a whiff of a place i know and love.
as morning haze lifts like a holy man’s prayers, i catch sight of Mama Jesus
doling out bread, too busy to ask much else than . . .
do you love me?
before i can answer, this big-hearted Jesus of the breakfast table shouts,
sit down and eat and when you’re done fix a plate for the neighbors.
he stokes the coals and points his tongs toward a road i’ve never seen.
weighed down by loaves and a thousand different fears, i strap on my sandals and bet my life on love.