Guest Post: Confessions

The following was written by Jeff Nelson, a United Methodist pastor in Redford, Michigan and is reblogged here with his permission.


A Sorrow For All Seasons from Flickr via Wylio
© 2010 Don, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio
I am a preacher
And I am tired of preaching

I am tired of trying to figure out what to say
About school shootings
And movie theatre massacres

I am tired
Of gasping for the breath to breathe
I am fresh out of peaceful platitudes
And saccharine sentiments
I cannot offer a nimble nicety
In face of Paris bombings
And twisted winds that tornado towns into trash heaps

And when levitical codes are hurled
Like hand grenades
At young boys who hang
Themselves behind closeted doors
And mothers of hooded sons
Are told their boys can be target practice
On suburban streets
Brown skins bleed on black concrete
As if no lives really matter

So Forgive me if I get tired
Because I am beyond tired

Preachers and pastors are supposed
To provide answers to these things
Wide eyes stare form pews at pulpits
Praying for even the most bland of reassurances

"Just serve me up some of that supermarket-sheet-cake pastor
So sweet in the moment that it makes our fillings hurt...."
only to leave you ten minutes later starved
emptier than before you ever swallowed it

Makes sense of this senselessness preacher

Give meaning to this meaninglessness

Comfort us in the chaos

Well I am tired
I am tired of event after event gripping my heart
Daring me to impart some sort of good news
To tie it all up with a nice red bow
To place it under the tree to be opened
When you show up at my door with the shattered pieces
Of your lives

See suddenly I am a shepherd
Just wanting
Just wanting to be a part of the flock

Can I tell you that I am scared?
Do you want to know that I am confused?
Is there any comfort for you that I too become numb
Dumbfounded by the voices that promise us protection

Wrap yourself in the flag or cynicism or conspiracy
Tighten the boarders or let everybody in
Take away all the guns or arm them all
The swirling sensation of 24 hours of cycling news
Or to escape into food or booze or sex or Netflix streaming
All leaves me screaming for answers I simply cannot find

I once had silver bullet solutions
To all your questions and queries
Potions and prayers, magic tricks and slight of hand illusions
To spin death and disaster into better tomorrows
and I have used them
Used them all
And I have nothing left
Nothing fits

So I sit at our symbol
Where it was said God once bled himself dry
Emptied of answers, divinity in humanity
Stark and naked, beaten and broken
Unable to articulate any grand solution
Or to fashion an escape hatch to an easier way out of this
Just a word of mercy and a scream of fear
This is a near as I can get
I am sorry I am too tired to preach
This all I got
This is my best
Just to sit with you
by this symbol
And rest


The preceding was written by Jeff Nelson, a United Methodist pastor in Redford, Michigan and is reblogged here with his permission.

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