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Saturday, 28 November 2015

Meditation: 'Jesus and Rome - Judgement of the Nations'


Outside the gates of Amiens,
in the depths of winter’s bitter cold,
a shivering, half-naked beggar
begs people for pity.
They walk on by on the other side.
The true protagonist of history is the beggar -
Testing and challenging responsiveness,
refining our compassion.
A young tribune rides through the gates
protective armour gleaming,
offensive weapon at his side,
luxurious lined cloak across his shoulders.
From a height, in one quick stroke
he slashes the lovely mantle in two -
the high and mighty considering the lowly -
his death-dealing sword used to give life.
Half to the beggar, clad only in rags,
half retained, sharing not possessing.
At night, in dream, he sees Christ clothed
in the part of his cloak which had covered the beggar.
From Christ begging for our hearts,
to our hearts begging for Christ.
“Here is Martin,” says Christ,
“the Roman soldier who is not baptised;
it is he who has clothed me.”


Beside the Milvian Bridge
alongside the Tiber,
Constantine and his troops
sleep on the eve of battle.
He dreams of a cross;
the sign by which his enemies
will be conquered.
Uncertain, he dreams again
seeing Christ command
a likeness of this sign created.
A spear overlaid with gold,
a transverse bar forming the cross,
a wreath of gold and jewels
holding a Chi-Rho,
an embroidered cloth
interlaced with cloth,
a portrait of Constantine
below the embroidered banner.
With the sign of the cross before,
the army follows on
to victory and Empire,
enemies conquered,
Christendom begun.


Jesus and Pilate
in a clash of cultures
on the pavement
at Herod’s Jerusalem fortress.
Pilate is
angular, aggressive, threatening
the oppressive, controlling
Empire of dominating power,
with its strength in numbers
and weaponry,
which can crucify
but cannot
set free.
Jesus is
curves and crosses,
love and sacrifice,
the kingdom of God;
a kingdom of love,
service and self-sacrifice
birthing men and women
into the freedom
to love one another.
The way of compassion
or the way of domination;
the way of self-sacrifice
or the way of self;
the way of powerlessness
or the way of power;
the way of serving
or the way of grasping;
the kingdom of God
or the empires of Man.


Then the king will say to those at his right hand,
‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father,
inherit the kingdom prepared for you
from the foundation of the world;
for I was hungry and you gave me food,
I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink,
I was a stranger and you welcomed me,
I was naked and you gave me clothing,
I was sick and you took care of me,
I was in prison and you visited me.’
Then the righteous will answer him,
‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food,
or thirsty and gave you something to drink?
And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you,
or naked and gave you clothing?
And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’
And the king will answer them,
‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these
who are members of my family,
you did it to me.’


Dissident Prophet - Unconditional Love.

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