Saturday, March 14, 2015

Poetry Saturday: "Good News Comes to the Sewers"

After our Worship Together service*, small children wait for a chance to drink the leftover grape juice and to dump the leftover wine into the plants in the butterfly garden.  The wine has been consecrated for the sacrament of communion, and thus, we don't dump it down the drain.

One of the children asked why we didn't, and I found myself hesitating.  She's eight years old and very smart, so we could probably talk about issues of transubstantiation, if I wanted to get deep into theology.  But I didn't.

We talked about waste in our society and how much we throw away.  We talked about how much better it is to dump liquids on our plants than to throw them down the drains.  We talked about how much the plants like the communion wine.

I wish I had said more.  I could have talked about sharing the gifts of Jesus, both with each other and with the plants.  I wish I had reminded the children that not all liquid is safe to put on plants.

I was reminded of a poem I wrote years ago, when I did the clean up tasks after worship and dumped the leftover wine outside.  A parishioner walking past asked me why I did it.

In that situation, too, I hesitated:  go deep theologically or not.  I said, "Consecrated wine should be handled differently."  I was willing to go into the theology of the reason why, but she smiled and moved on.

I thought about consecrated wine going down the drain, and how silly our ministrations must seem to outsiders.  And thus, this poem was born:

Good News Comes to the Sewers

The consecrated wine runs down the drain
and into the local sewer system.
It brings the good news of God’s grace
to the lowliest of fluids flushed
away. It heals the corrosion
in the pipes. In its steady
progress to the ocean, the consecrated
wine tells parables of God’s Kingdom.
The consecrated wine abandons
the form it once held, only to be resurrected
in a sea of salt.

*This service is our interactive, family friendly, much more innovative service.

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