The following poem was performed at La Sierra University Church’s Friday night worship service, First Service.
In Santa Monica where the sea slaps the sand I met an old war vet with a sign in his hand And it said Power to the Peaceful Power to the Peaceful
He said he served his country in the Vietnam War He said he can’t support this country and its killing no more And he said Power to the Peaceful Power to the Peaceful
I shook my head and said that most the people I know – will likely Never put their boots on pick their guns up and go He said The wars that people fight are worlds away from Vietnam And they don’t require guns or tanks; they don’t require bombs, Man
I can’t escape the things he said; my mind won’t let me off it And so I bring the message of a homeless war vet prophet Power to the Peaceful Power to the Peaceful
There’s power to be gotten from the oil in the ground There’s power for the taking when the sun is beating down There’s power in technology and power in education There’s power in the blood and there’s the power of information There’s military power and the power of police But there’s nothing like the power of a people waging peace There’s nothing like the power of a people waging peace
PART ONE: WAGING WAR People say that wars are wrong but know how to excuse them – They Build weapons first and then find opportunities to use them Build weapons first and then find opportunities to use them
Sticks and stones and tanks and drones may break my bones and flatten homes But who needs those to fight their foes Just find some people to oppose, some people to oppose
I met a man whose battle plan is drawing lines across the sand On this side are the righteous ones, on that side are the damned This side all the righteous ones and that side all the damned
He uses sides as weapons and he knows just how to choose them – He builds Weapons first and then finds opportunities to use them Builds weapons first and then seeks opportunities to use them
This side is for Americans that side for immigrants That side is for donkeys this side for elephants
That side is for Sunday keepers, This the Sabbath day On this side are the heteros, on that side are the gays
This side for creationists, and that side evolution On that side all the heathen schools, and here true institutions
On that side if your name’s Hussein, on this side if it’s Smith This side the Bible’s literal, and that side it’s a myth
Blessed are the peacemakers but he fights for the Lord – He says that Jesus didn’t come for peace he came to bring a sword
On this side are the righteous ones on that side are the damned This side all the righteous ones and that side all the damned
He said the sides are obvious the lines cannot be blurred Then he unleashed his weaponry, an arsenal of words
Inside, outside – fighting words Unrighteous – fighting words Saved ones, lost ones – fighting words Not like us – fighting words
Demonizing, ostracizing, confident assured That he is on the winning side — the cosmic war of words
(And Blessed) Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called (And blessed) Blessed are the peacemakers the children of God (And Blessed) Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called (And blessed) Blessed are the peacemakers the children of God The Children of God
PART TWO: A PEACEABLE KIN-DOM
On the South Side of Los Angeles beside a fruit stand I met a weather-beaten woman with a Bible in her hand She said If you believe “Thy kindom come on earth” can be true You’ve gotta do unto the other what you’d have her do to you She said A warring world can change, and here’s a word to the wise She said The end to all the fighting must begin with our eyes The end to all the fighting must begin with our eyes
Eyes that see “illegal alien,” a “faggot” or a “ho,” Are the instruments of war, and eyes like those have got to go Eyes that see unrighteous enemies are warring eyes as well We’d be better off removing them and throwing them to – the bottom of the ocean with a millstone tied around them
If our arsenal is labels, we’ll find use for them somehow If you want to end the warfare beat your sword into a plow If you want to end the warfare beat your sword into a plow.
I confess my eyes are clouded I’ve been staring for too long At what I thought were all my enemies — I see that I was wrong A homeless War vet and an old and wrinkled woman made me see That the man who drew lines in the sand was no one else than me And so I shouted to the teacher as the crowd was passing by Heir of David please have mercy, I want to have new eyes Heir of David please have mercy, I want to have new eyes
When I looked again I saw the same ones, just as they had been But where I had perceived my enemies I recognized my kin Where I had perceived my enemies I recognized my kin!
They remain as they have been; the change took place in me – I once was lost….
Was blind but now I see
(And blessed) Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called The children of the kin-dom, the kin-dom of God (And blessed) Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called A peaceable kin-dom, the kin-dom of God
Jared Wright is a Master of Divinity student at La Sierra University.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/2130