From birth pangs,
whimpers of pain and hope,
and from babies, gurgles of possibility.
Love is always born in new mangers,
and also in graves of little ones
in Sandy Hook and Bethlehem (note the address: Palestine)
and in corpses of elephants outside Nairobi
and drowned Syrian refugee children
and men dead in U.S. streets because they’re black.
As the loud mouths of lost liars
screech in public places,
confounding our better angels,
we scream back
shut the fuck up!
But for a moment, can we press “pause”
and with wise men and women take time
to seek a birth place or a grave
and stand quietly?
Can we hear Sophia (Wisdom)
tell us stories of the baby
born — and grown up —
in Bethlehem, yes, in Palestine?
Shh! She says, listen
to what this Jesus said, see
what he did, and
understand him well
Love comes down always
to this and only this:
Show kindness and compassion.
Practice “revolutionary patience.”*
Walk gently on the earth.
And stand together
as if your lives
depend on it
because they do.
Carter Heyward * term coined by poet-theologian Dorothee Soelle