Sunday, June 24, 2007


Whence smugness?
What is the pathology of
this ganglious weed?
What shallow sources feed it?
It presents itself assured, staid,
unflappable, self-contained.
Its roots, however, go not deep but wide
and the stalk is readily toppled.

Whence smugness?
From pride of place or pedigree,
love of heritage or family?
Does it sprout from savings on deposit,
or securities against disaster?
Does it spring from mere ideology
or form in personal achievements?

Whence smugness?
Were we to perceive clearly
smugness would wilt.
We would see our predicament as
shattered, vulnerable, indefensible.
We would be clinging to
disintegrating handholds,
wobbling on crumbling ground.

And we would cry out
desperately, “mercy!”
as bold Peter sinking into the sea.
We would gladly take our place with
lepers calling out: “Jesus, Son of David,
have mercy on us!”

Whence smugness?
It would be abandoned as a
bruised, withered reed,
a fruitless persona,
a fool’s bitter delusion.

Mercifully, graciously our cries
would be overwhelmed by a
greater Voice;
Our trembling stilled by a
steadying Hand.

And, mercifully, graciously, we
would be made to stand.
No longer smug,
not as ones who deserve,
or who achieve,
but as ones who receive

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