As we reflect on the example of the border-crossing saints, I thought it would be appropriate to share a poem I wrote some years ago about the ultimate border-crossing saint, Abram, and how his story connected with my own sense of calling. At the time it was about puzzling through my own calling to new places that were border-crossing for me. Now in this time I am drawn in this example to reflect on my need to see myself and faith through the eyes of displaced people like Abram.
Hope it blesses you — and please share in what ways you are finding yourself able to enter into the world of displaced people, reconsidering how your faith looks from that perspective.
Your progressive redneck preacher,
I wonder about you, old Abram,
while I sit here, watching you
with your pretty wife and flocks
waiting outside Ur’s dark gate.
What will it be for you, old Abram,
when you see this now familiar sky,
cool as some watery nest,
burst aflame with Yahweh’s outstretched wings?
Will you, too, feel that deep chill
which spreads over men’s flesh
making most to turn and flee?
Or will a fire light in your breast
when you hear him say,
“So you seed shall be.
Go! Go! Go!”
I hear it too, oh Abram,
here on Appalachia’s high hills
as I wait for one dear
who lies sick,
on the brink of life.
He comes to me,
live as lighting,
falling as drops of liquid flame
across the horizon of my mind.
I hear his voice,
as tumultuous as mountains
yet quiet as the crash
of feather on pavement,
crying out to me
but one word,