God, save me from the lie
of an acceptable death,
the heroic sacrifice (too many spent),
a crazed god’s scheme
to sell forgiveness for blood.
Save me from the anticipated gesture,
the deal agreed upon.
Deliver me instead into truth’s sordid lap,
the bewildering perversion
that comes of fear, and death its only issue,
violence its only hands and feet;
the way we judge, the way we think we can.
Let me not blame this on you.
No: only in the jumpy torchlight
of the unnecessary flames
of another lynching, another rape,
a war, an execution,
the tragedy of power,
only here in honest horror
do we see your awful love in all its range,
your inexplicable grace unbending,
mercy nailed and crowned with thorns.
Only here in our deepest depravity,
not planned, not paid for, but accepted,
can I know love strong enough
to save me and all this trembling world
not from that but this,
not from the fear of hell
but from the hell itself of fear.
Only in my deepest loss, and yours,
do I see love win
and raise me up to something new
and really alive.
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