Friday, February 22, 2008

You, Congregation

Below is the text of a poem Chris Marshall read at the annual JPBC "Talent Show" back on February 8th:
You, Congregation
adapted from
You, Reader by Billy Collins

I wonder how you are going to feel
when you find out
how long this sermon will be.
that it was I who stayed up late
to sit in the kitchen
and methodically construct
the fifty-seven bulleted points,
in your message notes,
on John 11:35.
Go ahead and turn aside,
bite your lip and scribble on the bulletin,
but, listen -- it was just a matter of time
before I happened to notice
that this room has no clock
and the doors can be locked from the outside.
I know you’ll be grimacing
at the introduction I so delicately crafted
after a mere thirty-four minutes.
But, we’ve really just started this morning--
and time cannot constrain us,
no matter how late we arrived from deacon prayer time.
I wonder if you can do the math
when twenty-three minutes has passed for bullet one
or if someone will be leading a revolt--
like Llewellyn
who manages to convey with a look
the bleak prospects for my future.
some day we all will laugh about this,
me, smiling and blogging at my computer
you, welcoming a new pastor to the pulpit.

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