Friday, June 17, 2016

Mary Magdalene (Addition to "The Apology Box")

            Mary Magdalene’s Apology

Though fathers of the church might not recall,
I was his favored ally over all--
Though I had awful moments I admit.
I saw the seven horrid faces of
The demons driven out.  Pride lurched out first.
It smirked as it looked back at me.  It kissed
Its gilded mirror, dropped its glass, then spread
Its filthy, gaudy tail.  It stretched its wings
And took its pompous exit on the breeze.
Then Envy slithered out, a serpent scaled
With eyes instead of plates.  Each lens scanned round
From different angles not to miss a grudge.
Its filthy fangs were always poised to strike
With venom ever dripping.  Thus, the snake
Ingested greater poison than its prey.
Then Gluttony with well-worn teeth chewed its
Way out of me and tumbled on the ground
To roll away in its growing sphere of flesh.
Then Idleness crawled out.  Its wrinkled robes
Were stained and filthy.  It could barely hold
Its head upright until it found a bed.
Then heaving-breathing Avarice crawled out
So loaded down with precious things it could
Not stand. Despite the wealth it bore, its clothes
Were worn and fit it poorly.  Sweating, it
Crawled off distraught--it never hauled enough.
Then lion-headed Wrath leapt out of me.
Its awful roar was followed by a spray
Of blood its flailing limbs slung as it ran.
Then last of all sprang hairy Lust.  (Perhaps
I’m most remembered for the last since it
By chance became the final one to leave.)
O Lord, I tremble still to think about
Those awful spectacles as each came out.
And yet once freed of seven demons, I
Could kneel to wash my master’s feet.  I could
Anoint his head with oil and laud him well.
Then when his fortunes changed, I could as well
Stand by him as they nailed him up.  And when
Some armored angels swept him up from Hell
I could run out and spread good news to all--
I was his favored ally after all.           

© Harold Anthony Lloyd 2016
The current contents of "The Apology Box" can be found here.

P.S. In the Rhetoric to Lettie, I speculate on how Christ might have confided in his favorite disciple:

    Jesus Confides in Mary Magdalene

The kingdom is within.  Search for it there.
The sinner is the one who in despair
Awaits the day his chariot should come.

The kingdom is not coming.  It is here.
There are no portents, earthquakes, storms to fear
Before arrival.  Simply look within.

Tell others that the kingdom is within,
That first it’s small like seeds or leaven in
The dough but has its powers to expand.

Be mindful of the present or you’ll miss
Brief miracles of leavens such as this.
Live in the “am,” not in the “will” or “was”

And revel in the kingdom found within.
There can be no forgiveness for the sin
Of self-rejection.  Broken can’t be right.

Commit yourself at once, do not delay
To act on what you’ve found.  Though others say
That faith suffices, fruit defines the tree.

Embrace your enemy and do no deed
You’d not have others do to you.  Once freed
From difference, inner light uncovered shines.

Be humble and be open as a child.
Be curious and never be beguiled
By rules or “prophets” that snuff out the light.

For light will show whenever two are one,
Whole mountains can be moved.  Division gone,
Whole mountains cannot claim their former place.

Know rules serve us.  When bending must be done,
Bend rules to light, not light to them.  Don’t sin
By elevating Sabbaths over light.

Though I must leave you soon, I still shall shine:
My light remains in you as yours in mine,
And therefore separation never comes.

Split any piece of wood and I am there.
Lift any rock and you will find me there.
Set any table.  You will find me there.

Have bread and wine in common to recall
The need to share both food and drink with all—
And do this for your fellow flesh and blood.

As I have done, reach out to heal the sick—
Though not just those with fevers.  Heal heartsick
And troubled spirits, too.  Do miracles.

Though I have set upon a painful course,
I choose it freely--right could never force
A faultless one to pay another’s fine.

No innocents are sacrificed though I
Am willing for the sake of truth to die.
That’s what the Cross should symbolize for you.

I’m neither Paul, nor Pope, nor Protestant.
I am before they came, before they went.
I am before their Sabbaths as are you.

 © Harold Anthony Lloyd 2016

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