Wednesday, September 8, 2010

CHASING SAINTS

I've stopped putting heroes and saints on pedestals

I am tired of chasing saints,
Hinging my significance on
   internalizing theirs,
Consulting their writings for
   self validation,
Wanting to travel to where they are
   said to have trod,
Mimicking their outward actions,
   postures and attitudes,
Creating auras around sinners who
   struggle just like me.

From the pedestal upon which
   I have frozen them,
These statues glance down to say
   it was never to be this way.

I listened to one who sought out
   Mother Teresa in Calcutta.
Her pride at possessing her blessing,
   and my envy of it,
Told me that we both had it
   quite wrong.

One more seminar attended,
   one more book on my shelf,
Another privileged encounter
   leaves me groping emptily.

How soon the glow fades and I
   feel as shallow as I did
After standing in line for hours
   to get Neil Diamond concert tickets.

Less and less do I chase saints out of
   history or into hiding.
Better to appreciate their witness from
   a respectful distance,
To think of them as fellow companions,
   as friends on a common journey,
Or as gracious hosts at the end of
   a day-long trek.

Not people on a pedestal, or heroes to worship,
   saints have simply gone before
Or presently stand in a different place,
   offering notes and markings for the journey.

Chasing saints ends when I recognize that
   I, too, am a saint:
Sinful and broken like they,
   and just as redeemed and empowered
To follow the Master, exploring grace and
   transcendent love
Until we no longer reflect ourselves
   but Him who calls us forward.

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