The Priest’s House

Cleaning out a priest’s house

Is a strange thing

Like a sheep finding the shepherd

Gone

And the crook standing up

And the hat, tossed to the side

You wonder if he’ll ever come back

For he was old

And ill

And it’s time that he is gone

So you’ve been called over

To clean out his house

And all his belongings

Or they’ll just be gotten rid of

Dumped off at a parish sale

Perhaps a school

Will the buyers know the man?

He was a priest – yes, they’ll say that

But the man?

I did not know him well

Yet here I am

As the twilight creeps

And the small house chills

I must wear a coat and hat,

Keep hands within my pockets

Everything feels empty

Like a dark night of the soul

Or Holy Saturday

When Christ lay dead

And the world was mute

I did not know him well

Yet fingering his books

The soul-prints burn

Of priest, of man, of shepherd

And here I am alone

A sheep

And the books are passed to me

So take these books,

The wisdom of the Church

The struggling growth,

And ancient laws,

The wonder where it will end

As we shape a new course

Through this millennia

Yes, shepherd and sheep alike

We are the Church

Seeking and stumbling

Fashioning

Unfolding

Evolving

Repenting

A lonely, sacred seal

On all of us, a priestly people

All in a fusion of blood

Lamb’s blood

God’s blood

And the sheep are bleating

I hear them over the hill

But inside

It is deathly still

The pictures on the wall speak silence

And prayers, in old form

It feels like a wake

I feel afraid, like consciousness defused

I feel like a shell, creatureless

Is there meaning to it all?

There is no greater fear

Than meaninglessness

No greater love

Than Love

And all love has meaning

But where is it?

Time robs

That is the terror

Even consecrated hands

Must tremble, and still

Yet the current of decay,

In body and in mind

Is something so mysterious

It seems to breed within it

Some inner life

A cavern, a chasm

Air, deeper than air

Closer than consciousness

That which is

That which is not

The seen

The unseen

This little house

And the darkness falling outside

And here I am, young and untried

With the books under my arm

And the cold air fresh in my nostrils

And I’m stepping out now

He and I – shepherd and sheep

Bound by this running vein

Beneath the surface of space and time

And we go out now

We, the Church

To change the landscape of the World

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