Sunday, July 24, 2011


Having recognized the infinite value of one, our present and future is wonderfully complicated  

We've turned a corner
from which we can't retreat.
We've seen ourselves and
all other human beings
as individuals, each with
infinite soul and worth.

What Jesus opened up and
the Enlightenment recovered
cannot now be put back
in the box for the sake of
countering chaos or controlling
this unruly leader or that
unwieldy populace.

You are as important as me.
They are as valuable as we.
Though some try not to believe,
self-evident truth reveals
the image of the Creator
stamped on us all.

Still armies amass and weapons
strike with a surgical precision
that nonetheless snuff out
the individual lives of suspected
and unsuspecting alike.

War is a relic of antiquity,
a hold-over from an age
when all were expendable
for the sake of the whole,
when the victor's ballad
was written in the blood of
friend and foe, a symphony
soured by its disregard
for the value of one.

When one mattered less
as one, when one mattered
more as a thing, a tool, a pawn--
however patriotically proclaimed--
war could be waged eye for eye
and tooth for tooth.

But the Cross closed that chapter
and Resurrection opened the next--
when one suffered for all and
redeemed the life of even one,
when one life burst forth with
love to grace every last one.

And each life was lifted beyond
the pale of mere existence;
the simplest, the lowest, the basest
was exalted and restored--
never to be cast aside or
undistinguished in the masses.

And even though we demand
blood vengeance in the face
of our own losses, vengeance
no longer satisfies the heart;
though justice be done, justice
is no longer served.

In our killing we surely
poison our own souls; living,
we slowly die by our own sword.
Our warring seeds the earth
with a billion broken particles
that cry out each to God.

But God would hear--
and will surely respond--
if but one in a billion
called out to heaven.
It is in one and for one
God turns the universe.

Dare we lay our weapons down
while others still breathe
a deathly past? Unless we do,
we shall not live the future
into which we are drawn,
nor make it possible for others.

[This is still a work in progress. Someday I'll get the rhythm right.  But I'll share it in its emerging condition.  Maybe the point of the value of one will spark contemplation in how we treat people as things in our systems, institutions, economies, nations and powers]

1 comment:

  1. John,

    There’s much truth encased here.

    I know it’s a bit presumptuous, but I decided to take some of your thoughts and “run” with them. Hopefully you won’t be offended.

    Peace In Him,
    Ron Cabay
    Manhattan, IL

    The Corner Turned, the Value of One

    Retreat not from the corner turned,
    from this unearthly vision of others,
    embodied endless souls,
    each welling with limitless worth.

    Bearers of a sacred stamp, both you and I,
    cast by a lowly Nazarene,
    who yesteryear spoke forth enormity into existence;
    then transcended this deed with a lone primordial breath;
    awarding likeness within life to the whole of our kind.
    All partake in the value of one.

    A dream was retrieved from days of old
    when chance walks in the garden did unfold.
    Yearn for this still of the eve,
    for these ancient tracks laid down the value of one.

    Now counter not your chaos
    sired by those in temporal rule,
    nor oppose the inward involved mass,
    with neither an eye or a tooth.
    The corner turned.

    Then unarm your unnumbered swords of strife
    that root your fields in crimson red.
    Turn from these sterile instruments of inequity,
    to the time-honored timber of antiquity.
    The corner turned.

    Advance now from the corner turned
    with eyes affixed to the timbered One.
    With corner turned, the value is won.


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