Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The only command: Jesus, Christians, and Mercy

"If you look at the Muslim, Christian, and Jewish religions, their first commandments are the same: 'Thou shalt not kill.' It's not taken seriously." -19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East (I'm not sure where the quote is originally from)

Interesting, isn't it? Except, our first commandment isn't to not kill -- it's to love. To love God, and to love people.

I Feel Sorry for Jesus

People won't leave Him alone.
I know He said, wherever two or more
are gathered in my name . . .
but I'll bet some days He regrets it.

Cozily they tell you what He wants
and doesn't want
as if they just got an e-mail.
Remember "Telephone," that pass-it-on game

where the message changed dramatically
by the time it rounded the circle?
People blame terrible pieties on Jesus.

They want to be his special pet.
Jesus deserves better.
I think He's been exhausted
for a very long time.

He went into the desert, friends.
He didn't go into the pomp.
He didn't go into
the golden chandeliers

and say, the truth tastes better here.
See? I'm talking like I know.
It's dangerous talking for Jesus.
You get carried away almost immediately.

I stood in the spot where He was born.
I closed my eyes where He died and didn't die.
Every twist of the Via Dolorosa
was written on my skin.

And that makes me feel like being silent
for Him, you know? A secret pouch
of listening. You won't hear me
mention this again.

-Naomi Shihab Nye
(from You and Yours)

"If you had known what these words mean, 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice,' you would not have condemned the innocent." -Jesus (Matthew 12:7)

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