“He Who Would Be Great Among You”

I felt like dipping into Luci Shaw this morning.

He Who Would Be Great Among You

You, whose birth broke all
the social and biological rules–
son of the poor who accepted
the worship due a king–
child prodigy debating
with the Temple Th. D.s–you
were the kind who used a new math
to multiply bread, fish, faith.
You practiced a radical sociology:
rehabilitated con men &
call girls.  You valued women,
aliens, & other minority groups.
A general practitioner,
you specialized in heart surgery.
Creator, healer, innovator,
shepherd, story-spinner,
weather-maker, botanist,
alchemist, exorcist, iconoclast,
seeker, seer, motive-sifter,
you were always beyond us,
ahead of your own time, & ours.

And we would like to be
like you.  Bold as the James and John,
the Boanerges brothers,
we hear ourselves demand,
“Admit us to your avant-garde.
Grant us degrees in all
the liberal arts of heaven.”
Why our belligerence?  Why
does this whiff of fame and greatness
smell so sweet?
Why do we always compete
to be first?  Have we forgotten
how you took, gently & simply,
cool water, & a towel for our feet?

~Luci Shaw

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