At the Arraignment
By Debra Spencer
The courtroom walls are bare and the prisoner wears
a plastic bracelet, like in a hospital. Jesus stands beside him.
The bailiff hands the prisoner a clipboard and he puts his
thumbprint on the sheet of white paper. The judge asks,
What is your monthly income? A hundred dollars.
How do you support yourself? As a carpenter, odd jobs.
Where are you living? My friend's garage.
What sort of vehicle do you drive? I take the bus.
How do you plead? Not guilty. The judge sets bail
and a date for the prisoner's trial, calls for the interpreter
so he may speak to the next prisoners.
In a good month I eat, the third one tells him.
In a bad month I break the law.
The judge sighs. The prisoners
are led back to jail with a clink of chains.
Jesus goes with them. More prisoners
are brought before the judge.
Jesus returns and leans against the wall near us,
gazing around the courtroom. The interpreter reads a book.
The bailiff, weighed down by his gun, stands
with arms folded, alert and watchful.
We are only spectators, careful to speak
in low voices. We are so many. If we—make a sound,
the bailiff turns toward us, looking stern.
The judge sets bail and dates for other trials,
bringing his gavel down like a little axe.
Jesus turns to us. If you won't help them, he says
then do this for me. Dress in silks and jewels,
and then go naked. Be stoic, and then be prodigal.
Lead exemplary lives, then go down into prison
and be bound in chains. Which of us has never broken a law?
I died for you-a desperate extravagance, even for me.
If you can't be merciful, at least be bold.
The judge gets up to leave.
The stern bailiff cries, All rise.
From: "Good Poems For Hard Times" selected and introduced by Garrison Keillor
I believe in God and in Jesus and that Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Christ. It's not politically correct nowadays to say that, but I don't give a shit. I'm a believer. I've had miracles in my life and I've seen miracles in the lives of those around me. I believe in prayer and have seen too many prayers answered to count. At one low point in my life I prayed for toilet paper and got it. Of course, I never TOLD anybody we didn't have any toilet paper. But the Bible said to pray believing and I prayed and believed and received. I was living with two kids on a few hundred dollars a month and going to a vo-tech school, yet I tithed every penny I received because I wanted to please God. The preacher even laughed at the tiny checks I faithfully gave monthly, but in a friendly way. I had great faith at the time I was the poorest materially. I was spiritually rich and never wanted for anything. My husband and I were separated at the time. I believed Isaiah 54:5 which says, "For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called." I thought of God as my spiritual husband, my provider. I read the Bible cover to cover when I was 12 years old and it stuck with me. I still read it often. It's the greatest Book ever written, bar none.
Oh, about the TP: A very old Christian lady at the small country church we attended told me years later this story before we moved away: "Sweetheart" she said, "I was the one what put that toilet paper in the back seat of your car during the church service. I was down on my knees praying the same night you must've been praying for your needs and God put it on my heart to go buy a big package of toilet paper for you, so I did." This woman was blind, in her 80's and the most spiritual person I've ever met. I still miss her and that little country church.
Be bold. Be yourself. Don't ever apologize for who you are.
Love & Blessings,
"A man can no more diminish God's glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, 'darkness' on the walls of his cell." ~C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain
"The soul can split the sky in two and let the face of God shine through." ~Edna St. Vincent Millay
If There Is No God
By Czeslaw Milosz
If there is no God,
Not everything is permitted to man.
He is still his brother's keeper
And he is not permitted to sadden his brother
By saying there is no God.
From: "Second Space", new poems by Czeslaw Milosz, Page 5 (Winner of the Nobel Prize)