I am afflicted in my soul for the sins of the people.
I am disheartened in the house of the Lord –
in the very house of God they deny you
in affirmation of their own goodness
and justice and mercy and lovingkindness –
distorted mirrors, waving as they flex.
They bow to the world,
gathered ‘round the common words,
exalting in themselves and their callings
and their righteous wisdom to discern the times,
as they fashion their golden calves.
And how am I among them,
part of the writhing mob?
Did I find myself drawn in, and smile
before I recognized the inky pit
in the center of the throbbing mass
of self-adulatory worship?
They shift unknowing to let me pass
through the layers to the rim;
I sway in the outer circle
and observe with opened eyes
the dance of the modern witch doctors:
They pluck out pages from a Bible,
letting them fall to the floor.
They stamp on them with bare feet,
and I see now – I see now –
why the tables were overturned –
why he called the honored “vipers” –
why he uses the unqualified –
Make me unqualified,
unsure, scared, and trembling –
let me fall on my face before you.
Let me pick up the pages,
rip the book from their hands and run –
run to the edge of the dark and the danger.
Let me run, though alone, to your goodness
and robe myself in truth.
And may the people of the Lord run to meet me.