Day Break On The Jabbok: The Last Word

(system) #1

a poem in three days

Dedicated to the Memory of Mother Teresa Who Never Experienced Divine Assurance

You have answered me late in life, yet I already knew your answers. They are questions I suppressed in my youth. My people were shaped by disappointment; I am the offspring. Your answers do not redeem a lost devotion to your love and pledge. I would hold onto your heel until you deny your divinity, but I cannot. I am stronger than you are; see how you struggle to be free from my grip. Yet my hand is on fire from holiness. You slip away from me when the heat burns my skin away. Your sandal is left in my hand;. I throw it from me like a worn out boot, yet retrieve it for the sanctity of memory; it shall be an artifact of faith in what I cannot hold, cannot bring down , to hang a trophy on the wall of my bold piety. You have left yourself vulnerable; you cannot be surprised that I still stand and face you, looking for a weakness. When I find it, it shall be my own. Custom is a habit hard to break, expectation denied, a strike to the heart. They cannot be forgotten by a thought. In an instant, I cannot feel the joy of love’s release, love an attraction slow to grow, suspicion an aggravation not soon removed. Love will cover my rebellious inner being; to that I will surrender. But the thread that binds all things together tangles the lover in the weave. When I sort it out, what shall I see of me?

I have not been honest for fear of offending you. Now, I have forgiven myself, forgiven my teachers. I have forgiven you; remain as you were. I seek one who is beyond you. I shall pledge my life to pay off your debts, restructure your divine enterprise with the gifts of human value. Is this at last what you would have me know while others shun me for my impudence? Now I shudder at your power; you are truly awful, transcendent, and wonderful, wholly other, unapproachable. No one sees God and lives. Your love is beyond me, beyond Jesus. God is love; he died a man in darkness, yet became the light of the world. Love beyond cannot be known, always keeps one waiting for the lover. Jesus loved; by it men declared him God. If I embrace it as your own, what need have I of you? You forsook him as I abandoned you, but embrace you again beyond my shadow. Love is suffering toward the light, rejoicing in the faintest beam. What is true of me will be true of you. When I discover it I will bless you. Then will day break on the Jabbok. ___________

A. Josef Greig is professor emeritus of religion and philosophy at Andrews University.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at