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The Dashing Life and Exuberant Times of Brian Harrison....And Other Rare Anecdotes

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Poem for Communion

It was shot to me Saturday. Ken Haynes called me up during the Alabama game and asked me to write something for Church the next day. Specifically, for Communion.

Now, let me brag a little bit about the church that I go to. Somehow along down the way, I met a group of Christians that really understood that the Formula is not the key to the Divine. All to often the Formula gets in the way of the Divine. It is interesting because most of the people of my church came out of traditions where Formula was of the utmost concern, in short, the people mistook Formula or Pattern for God. It was their way of accessing Him. Henceforth, the way of apprehending God quickly becomes a God.
Now, here I want to designate that when I write Formula, I in no way mean Ritual. They are two different things. Ritual is an experiential factor, a real life and blood incident. It's where Ideas meet Flesh. Without them we rob ourselves of symbols, without symbols we might as well become empirical atheists. Rituals create balance between our bodies, our minds, and our emotions. Because we are all off center to some degree or another.
Formulas on the other hand are all mental for the most part. That is, they are all meant to ascribe to a certain logical order that appeases God or the idea that they think God is. Ritual, however, actualizes God in the here and now. It points to His nearness, but also His transcendence and how any idea we have of God is never sufficient.

Anyways, I didn't mean to go all out on a harangue about formulas and what not. I just meant to point out how wonderful and revitalizing it is that my church can call someone up and give free creative liberty for Communion on the following Sunday. And most people would agree that giving me, such creative liberty, is a frightful thing.

So, I felt a pull to write a poem for Eucharist. But you know how it goes, I may write a few lines here or there. But quickly push my notebook aside to go find something else to do. The inspiration must strike. Or else, I am in the delusion in thinking so. And Saturday evening, I could not make the work flow. I was staying in the church that night and I couldn't write even with the silence that was finally accessible.

I recall getting quite irate about the whole thing. And leaving in a rush. I could not write a "Religious Piece" in a church. So, I did what I had to do. I drove to a nearby bar, a billiards bar, where loud music was playing, a poker match was on the television, and people were drinking and shooting pool. I ordered a pint of Guinness, sat down at the bar, placed some earplugs in my ears to make the music a little more bearable. And began to write. It didn't naturally flow out, but I did start to get something down. It took me a little while and many inky cross outs until I was finished. I would take breaks every now and then where I would watch the poker game on TV, observing all the "pool champions" strutting tall, and occassionally, receiving smiles from the female bartenders.

It seems to me that I needed a paradox itself to throw me into inspiration for writing about the biggest Paradox of all. Thus writing a highly spiritual piece in a bar, with the music overhead singing about women's booties, and the smell of alchohol issuing from the barstools. The below was my attempt.

For those in the midst of darkened dreams,
When the blackened skies have emptied out the stars,
And the moon has directed its broken-silver beams,
Only on the cut, the wounds, those howling, hurting scars,

For those pierced by the silence of the skies,
And the lonely, desperate moaning of the earth,
When humanity's existence breathes out troubled sighs,
All this, a soul's reading of its sad, neglected worth,

For those of us, who have endeavored to steal,
The light from the Heavens and call it our own,
And rage our phantom egos against thy holy will,
We, all, now fall before your ever-so-present throne.

For the times that we feel that shivering absence,
We eat this bread.
And we know that on this, your Holy Substance,
We, are now, our hungry spirits fed.
May it also consume us with your Pure Presence,
As we mourn our egos dead.

And for our lives that are poured out in pride,
We take up this wine,
Knowing it has gushed from your stricken side,
Bleeding for our narcissistic shrines,
Now may it fill us with the One who has died,
But, yet lives, the Lord of All Times.

And from this feast of unquenchable love,
Let us open our hearts to this precious mystery,
God is now within us, as well as stretched high, far above,
And our past lives, like a half-dreamt history.