Tuesday, May 3, 2016

‘Dying, that We May Live’

In Virginia was planted a little garden,
Which in time grew large and fruitful.
And over everything in that land, stillness lay:
The Big Houses and the cabins
With their spirituals and their ballads,
Rows of tomato and collard greens
And persimmon and apple trees,
Climbing vines of muscadine
And tangled bundles of honeysuckle.

In Massachusetts was built a shiny city,
And in that place restlessness reigned;
Even sleep at night they could scarce abide.
Machines and money were multiplied;
The thin soil was overlaid with centers for trade.

In a square patch betwixt the garden and the city
The restful and the restless men would meet
From time to time in hopes of building
A common life together.  But they disagreed
From the very start, and the passing years
Brought only more rancor.  So the tillers
Bid the traders a peaceful Farewell
And went home to arrange their affairs
In accord with their new place in the world.

But the city folk felt in this
A grave sin against
An abstract Unity
And Liberty
And Destiny.

They fell with all their might upon
The farming folk.  For five years
They endured their Gethsemane
And their Golgotha until one April
They came down from the cross
All beaten and battered and lay down
In a courthouse room that looked
To become their tomb.  But they did not die.
And so neither did they know resurrection -
Life unending and strength unyielding.

They bargained instead with the Northmen
For balms made with their scientific
Necromancy which did keep feebly
Alive their mortal bodies,
But decay went on within their spirits.
All the while, the alchemists
Were smashing anything with a bit
Of tradition left within:
The extended family,
A pen of poultry.

Only dying brings new life,
Everlasting, invincible life.
Only baptism into the death of Christ,
Living His life of self-emptying,
A life only and always for the sake of others,
Free of worldly fear and desire
Which lead to all manner of greed and anger.

The South must crawl at last from the sick bed
At Appomattox into the tomb.
She must ‘set up the grave in the house’ - forever.
She must go on dying every day
That she might know resurrection every moment.
Then the Light of the Glory of God
That shines in the face of Jesus Christ
Will also shine from her folk,
Rays of Light bursting forth
From ‘the decomposing wall’.
Then all things around them will be renewed,
Granting an eternal value to all that they make and do.

But first they must die. 

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