Sunday, December 26, 2010

Tables and Chairs

Sivin, Rev Wolfgang and Judith. 'The Baptism-Driven Life', 27 May 2005.

I remember when BLC was but a few tables and chairs
When Uncle Long was able and there were
Only thirty of us on a Sunday morning;
When prayer in the church’s wings was a carpeted affair
Amongst guitars and keyboard, bass and drums—
The hum of cars pulling up into the compound
The sound of shoes and sandals untied at the threshold
Of holy ground.

Though small in number, we grew steadily in members,
The fastest-growing church in the city;
That is, the fastest-growing church—biologically!
I must’ve been the only teen (a sprightly lad of seventeen)
In a pool of uncles and aunties,
Little boys and girls, and some barely babies,
And of course, the ‘young at heart’.

Today the crosses stare from left and right
But they were always there, albeit out of sight;
One had to navigate the sofas on one side
And the library on the other—
(There were some good books, if one would bother to take a look.)
And then the kitchen, and the table laden
With nothing short of a scrumptious feast
And I would be reminded of the Table which welcomes
Without prejudice, the greatest and the least.

All this was not quite so long ago, back when
The only sign to lead a visitor in
Was a rickety board which read, “The Father’s House”
That led some to speculate if this was some new cult or sect.

I would do it again, would set down the world and its tempting voice
For another evening caught in the storm, mapping out life;
The darker those days, the brighter the candles shone
And the Father would walk with us till we could walk on our own
(Which, would, in all honesty, be not quite yet).
Still, we’re set, and at least a little resolute
To jump with neither landing pad nor parachute;
With only a little faith flung high up in the air,
That we may resume the work that was begun
(The work which may take us anywhere)
The work of the Son whom we have met
Even in a carpeted room with no more than a few tables and chairs.

* * *

With thanks to SooT for the biological observation.

First published in the Mustard Seed, Christmas 2010 edition. The last line, 'Even in a carpeted room...' should only appear at the very end, and not at the end of the fourth stanza.

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