Monday, November 01, 2004

For Michael

This is in grateful dialogue with Keith and his desire for contributions to the memory of Michael Barbato.

I wrote this the day I learned that Michael had started his path towards resurrection:

A Prayer in the Face of Death

I fear resurrection will never come
that it has passed us by without a glance;
never to shine on our downcast faces.
And here we are:
Some lame, same blind, some fast asleep,
but all suffering under the cruel bondage of despair.
Waiting, praying, pleading for the bonds to break
And our restoration to come.
Our lips say, “Where is the promise of its coming?”
But our hearts say, “A little longer it will not tarry.”
Are we alone, speaking into air growing thinner?
Or are we ignored, a worse fate still?

I wish that I could take on the pain of the grievers around me,
The ones lifting their voices to heaven,
Weeping, crying, weeping yet more,
Inarticulate words only interpreted by Spirit;
But I am no sufferer in servitude;
I can not bear my own grief as it is.

Hope needs a sign.
Do we believe that this is not the way it is to be?
Or do we die contentedly,
even welcoming the cold grip of Death’s hands?
Is there any hope that someday the warm love of God
will itself pry those dead fingers apart and free us?
Hope needs a sign.

I long to see the days when his tombstone is cast aside,
When a womb can bring forth life
When our friends bodies are not eaten away in premature rot;
When our children die not before they breathe.
God, send us the sign of Jonah! Send us your Son from heaven!
Make these bodies animated by Adam’s fault,
Be instead energized by Jesus’ life.
Give us not over to the unbearable corruption of watching friends,
family, saints, and loved ones wither before our eyes!
May we all rest in shalom on your coming Sabbath Day.

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