Before the Bench

In your life

you noiselessly turn the page

forget what you read

what you wrote and what you said

‘Time marches on,

and besides, I’ve done no wrong!’

Yet sit, shut, and reflect–

down, up, and upon:

you’ve done an ‘unrecht’,

perhaps more than one–

and shall you not be summoned?

woe unto you who would not be taught

who put pride and pet doctrine First

For sitting in judgment you shall be judged

For acting accuser you shall be accused

Did you not see that the διάβολος

holds this in common with you?

You broke a trust

for you were bound by the law of harmony.

You made yourself arbiter of

nonnegotiables

in matters you did not understand–puffed up!

Your passion was sufficient cause,

it justified unauthorized assault.

Bad enough that you Deny the Power Thereof

while you wear your religion as a mantle

Bad enough that God no longer speaks–

but even with the record of when He did

you’re the final word;

like a deist cuts miracles

you cut the inconvenient;

your tradition is red, while the passage is blue.

Blue is wrong, with no questions asked.

Yet all the time you proclaim yourself

Guardian of the Canon!

Such irony signals delusion while

Your Bible’s binding seems thin…

You contradict the Spirit, and shall you not be summoned?

In your fired-up confusion you rose up

senseless arguments, baseless complaints

and false testimony fell black and rank

from the mouth and onto the page

closed ears and closed minds and cold arrogance

wove a string of injustices

an insensibility, dulness to grace and reasoning.

You were called–to sling mud,

sow discord, doubt, and deafness,

to instigate revolution against Revival

because you found the instruction ‘New’.

Sheep stone the sheepdog, and shall you not be summoned?

First crime in the heart

second in the mouth

to draw others after you

to taint their hearing

Now people are confused

You’ve set rot in the root of

proper regard.

You weren’t content to be naughty yourselves

you dammed up the river for everyone else.

You’ve quenched the Spirit for all, and shall you not be summoned?

Poison was in the rebuttal

Envy brought to light by the thought

of what you’d been missing

spurned on by conviction of self-importance

‘Who has the right, as sheep in the pew,

to direct the preacher in his call?

Yours truly, yours truly!  Tradition!

Yours truly, yours truly! Tradition!’

Can you not feel the weight of

the chains on your mind?

You slow your own renewal, and shall you not be summoned?

You’ve taken up new residence

and sent for your paperwork

as if nothing’s happened!

Do you not know the gavel has fallen

the verdict declared?

Old Testament and New

you’ve disdained–commandments broken

and the Body wounded

and you’ve no remorse!

Shall the church not be warned

that your Thought is Pharisaical

and your spirit vindictive?

All this because you were a know-it-all

and put unthinking rote

rock-aged folly before

growth, understanding, upbuilding,

indeed even love;

a tiny seed of unteachable pride

takes root– turn round once, twice,

and it is a sweeping weed,

its fruit anger, clamor, slander and malice.

No room for openness, compassion, no room even to listen–

‘Cast out the heretic, though we can’t explain why!’

God sees the abuse of His faithful ones;

does He not call to repentance the abusers?

You’ve assaulted your brother, and shall you not be summoned?

It’s unfathomable you’ve not disgusted yourself–

but faith that is cold, neither in the heart

nor seeking the Spirit,

cannot easily feel conviction,

and contentment with self’s Now

breeds complacency, sloth, arrogance,

and, horribile dictu!, indifference even to the pain of family.

Do you flail about in your indignation

then walk away from the wreckage

expecting no consequences?

But perhaps Romans’ fourteenth chapter has been excised

from your version.

One who does not reflect is due no honor.

Each of us will give an account, and shall you not be summoned?

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