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Word Jazz

To be recited with the accompaniment of a saxophone

 

In the beginning is the Word

W-O-R-D

And the Word is with God

And the Word is God

And the Word is the bird

That Jesus talked about

When he pointed at the bird

In his Sermon on the Mount.

The birds of the air

Don’t store in the barn,

The birds, they never worry

So don’t you ever fret

Except against the strings

Of a guitar’s fretted neck

Or you’re gonna be a wreck

Wracked with anxiety

That you just don’t need

In heaven’s reality

That you are going to see

When you listen for the Word

In the singing of the bird

That the Almighty feeds

Day by day, while you pray

And say hey, Dear God

In your beginning is the Word

And like a winging bird

I’m feeling free

In the awesome presence

Of your eternity

That’s beyond theology

Defying explanation.

But we groan in expectation

Oppressed with the cogitation

That it’s cool to suffer from alienation

Drifting apart in inebriation

When we ought to be claiming your liberation

From fear and greed and discrimination.

Oh! the misery of comparing one to another

The wrongful judgment of sisters against brothers

Husband against wife

All that family strife

The religious hypocrisy

That claims superiority

To all of that the Word is No!

All that jive has got to go

Over the cliff where Jesus sent the hogs

Out of the eyes where he took out the logs

Out of the ears where he pulled out the mud

Off the cross where he shed all the blood.

The Word, the Word, the Word is YES

To all that for hearts and souls is best

Trust and faith and hope and grace

Belief in the future of the human race

The artistic, mystic

Pluralistic, humanistic

W-O-R-D

Whispered again to you and me

Can you hear it? Can you feel it?

Can you start to catch the beat?

Can you stand to feel the heat?

Can you sense the buzz about it

That is spreading on the street?

Are you hip to the Word

The still small silent Word?

The Word insinuated in the coolness of a cat

Who shows a brother kindness

Even when he plays the brat?

The Word that changes spelling

The Word that keeps on telling

The Word that’s still upwelling

From the depths of this and that

From the hearts of you and me

When we finally start to see

That the package that we bought

Was completely full of rot

That the only way to get it is to give up all we thought

That the way to find abundance is to share all that we’ve got

That the way to change the System is to blow ‘em all away

With the love in our intentions and the truth in what we say.

The Word, the Word, W-O-R-D

The ultimate cosmic graffiti

The Alpha, Omega, beginning and the stop

I’m prayin’ and I’m preachin’ till I finally gotta drop.

The Word, W-O-R-D

The Word is the sound of the tables Jesus turned

Dumping all the money for the sacrifices burned

Dumping all the lies of the powers that be

They say that freedom’s precious but they head toward tyranny.

Is the Word really heard when they tap our telephones

Can they hear the wails and moans

Of the mothers in the war

And the inner city poor

And the millions uninsured

To whose plight we’re so inured?

Are we listening

To the W-O-R-D?

That’s the ultimate verbal authority

Structuring our moral integrity

Giving us the spine

To stand for what’s divine

And do the thing that’s kind

Kind, kind.

Let’s just be kind.

And patient.

And humble.

And sweet.

And bold!

And free!

And Whee!

The serendipity!

Of knowing you and me

Express divinity!

Oh yeah! W-O-R-D –

I hear you in the forest

Behind a redwood tree

I hear you in the waves

That are crashing in the sea

I hear you in the desert

Speaking soft to me:

Peace

Truth

Forgiveness

Acceptance

Courage

Is there more, more, more, more

More you have to say?

Can I bear to really hear

That I’m nowhere nearly clear?

My ears burn, my feet are sore

My eyes sting, my fingers ache

Can I type another Word?
W-O-R-D

It seems absurd

That more could be in store.

Resonations, conflagrations,

Inhalations, excitations,

Inspirations, exclamations

I’m ready.

I’m birdlike.

I’m barnless.

I’m as hollow as a swallow

I’m as pinched as a finch

I’m as slow as a crow

Eager as an eagle

Un-uptight as a goose in flight

I’m a bird, God,

I’m your bird, Word,

I’m ready, Lord,

W-O-R-D

O let me be

All yours.

Amen.

 

From BIRDLIKE AND BARNLESS: Meditations, Prayers, and Songs for Progressive Christians (St Johann Press, 2008)

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