An Oldie at Christmas Time

A Christmas Wish

A very merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let's hope it's a good one
Without any fear
–  John Lennon


If He came back this season,
rising from Bethlehem
filled with divine purpose,
Jesus would build an army.

Tall, carpenter strong, sunburned still 
from those three days in the desert
on the cross, 
His sun-streaked flowing locks buzz cut and razor sharp now, 
He would march out in front 
of his army of saints and angels and important people
like Gandhi. Dr. King. The Buddha. Mohammed. Lao Tzu.  
Malcolm X, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington.  
And Ben Franklin, all pudgy and bespectacled.  
I think he’d bring Nelson Mandela with him.
Socrates. Sure. Why not?  
Hell, he might even bring back Nietzsche 
just to mess with him.
John Lennon (he’s always got such great pot). Immanuel Kant.  
Eleanor Roosevelt and Mother Theresa and Princess Di
to help care for the wounded and the maimed and the orphaned and the dead.
I think Jimmy Carter would be in Jesus’ army to build houses for the homeless, 
Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger would sing to empower the workers.
Langston Hughes would teach us all to dream.
Frank Lloyd Wright and Leonardo DaVinci 
could help draw up the plans to rebuild the world.
Jerry Falwell would be back 
to take out garbage and dig latrines and shovel shit.

Jesus would lead his army out over the whole Earth.
But Jesus would not be welcomed.  
Bullets and missiles and bombs would be fired at him,
IEDs would be set in his path.  

All would be ineffective.
Bullets would become bread. Missiles, medicine. Bombs would build hospitals.  
IEDs would build schools. RPGs become clean water to drink.
He would take the blood-thirsty and the enraged and the misguided
and hold them in the warm embrace of His love, of Allah’s love, 
of Buddha’s peace and the Tao’s wisdom.  

He would go to Baghdad and Faluja, Tora Bora and Kabul, 
Chechnya, Kosovo, Darfur, Mauritania, Jerusalem, Palestine, 
Liberia, Ethiopia, Myanmar, Syria, Lebanon,
Ghana, Haiti, Somalia, the Ukraine, Newtown, San Bernadino. Ferguson.  
Baltimore. New York. 
He would go to all of the bloody places in the world 
and heal shattered bodies and broken hearts and poisoned minds.

Netanyahu would bow to him, 
Hamas would dismantle their suicide bombs,
the Islamic State would tweet their surrender.
Al Qaeda would lay down their Kalashnikovs
come down from the mountains to know peace.
They would know that this Jesus is a man who died once
nailed to boards on a hot hill and would do it again 
and how does one kill what does not die?

Marching East from Israel, 
China would take notice and hold free and open elections, 
encourage dissent, apologize 
to the Dalai Lama, and withdraw from Tibet.

Sworn enemies would fall on their knees, weeping, feeling 
in the center of all that they are that this thing that Jesus has done
has changed them, made them finally see
that killing for an idea kills that very idea every time.

By now, Jesus is more than Himself.  
More than the punisher that Paul the Epistler made him.  
More than the political tool that Emperor Constantine envisioned.
Now, Jesus is reason. He is kindness and compassion and fairness.
He has shed the vanity and no longer needs capital letters to describe him.
He is the divine within all of us.  He is the best that we can be.

He will go, en masse, to America,
start on the West Coast, spread his Army 
(which by now has grown to include all peoples from the rest of the world)
throughout the land, which has finally become our land.  
Drought stricken farms will flourish, the poor and hungry will eat. 
People needing work will find jobs paying fair wages for their toil.
CEOs will leave their leather chairs for the assembly lines.
The working poor will have time to be with their children.
Everyone will read. Cars will run on water.
Water will be clean enough to drink. The ice caps will refreeze.
Wildlife will thrive and Johnny Weissmuller will be there with Jesus, 
yodeling and swinging on vines, protecting the animals from harm.
Advertisers will stop selling diet aids and beauty creams.
Cigarettes will no longer look cool.
Malt liquor and fast food will no longer be marketed to the poor.
We will no longer feel the need to own too much.
We will only work to live.  

Jesus will march his army East, to Washington.
The Marines, the Army, the National Guard, the Air Force, the Navy, the Coast Guard,the Secret Service, the INS, the CIA, the FBI, the NSA, Homeland Security, the FDA, the CDC, the GOP, the Skull and Bones, the Salvation Army, 
the Moral Majority, the Focus on Families, the 700 Club, the Rotary Club,
all will let him pass.  
Jesus has become more than any of them can handle.

The Pentagon will be converted to low cost housing 
because Jesus, by this time, has made war 
and the very idea of war stupid.  
Everybody in the world agrees.

And Jesus will stop being Jesus.

He will fade away in front of us and become nothing
because this peace and this answer lay inside us all along.
To be good, to do good, that is enough and we all know it.
We do not need a god to fear.  Fear is why we failed for all of human time.

There will be great dancing Hindu celebrations of life and of living.  
Sufis will whirl in wild dervishes.  
Native Americans will sing and dance to their ancestors’ drums.
Jews and Christians and Muslims shimmy and shake, 
side by side, to klezmer music. 
Hava Nageela means “Let’s Rejoice.”  Indeed!  Let’s!

All the peoples of all the world will dance 
because now, finally, there is joy in the world
and angels we have heard on high
will sing sweetly o’er the plain
and the mountains in reply
will echo their joyous strain.

Gloria, we will sing, 
in excelsis deo.



Love Letter to the World

Love Letter to the World

 

 

Here, in this season of dying,

neighbors, three of them in as many years,

spouses and nephews and parents of co-workers,

playwrights, artists, poets, musicians, and actors,

old acquaintances and classmates and teachers

with whom I had not spoken in decades,

all of whom I adored,

friends and family so far from here;

this list growing longer through all of my days.

 

It is Sunday in eastern Kansas,

under a wide blue and temperate

summer sky, cool sweat on my brow

from a morning mow, I am wishing

I am wishing I am wishing and I wish

for all of us, all of us, more time

in back yards, on porch swings,

around barbecue grills, in living rooms,

in kitchens, in coffee shops, book stores, and bars.

 

Let us speak to each other

over cups in which we hold

our broken spirits together

where we sip our beer,

drink our coffee, hell, I’ll even brew

strong sweet tea that we can

pour over ice with or without

fine bourbon on the side.

 

Let us talk of our lives together and separate,

speak softly of things

in our shattered and mended hearts,

tell such stories that weave us into a tapestry

of our larger, collected selves.

 

Find me here or there or wherever I may be.

Take my hand, grab my shoulder,

then let us steal away to a quiet corner

and enjoy some music or sit in silence,

together in this whole, big mess of a world.

 

© Shawn Pavey, 2019. All rights reserved.