Whose Kingdom?

inspired by Psalm 34
and vehement atheists
© October 25, 2012
Deborah Beach Giordano

I will bless the Lord at all times
and praise him unceasingly.

If I have anything to brag about,
it is the Lord God,
though lots of folks
would like to take all the credit
for themselves;

silly souls,
so convinced
of their own strength and talent,
enamored of their own intellect,
mesmerized
by human cleverness.

Behold our many accomplishments!
they proclaim.
We shall be as gods,
they insist:
We’re already
more than halfway there.

Look up there!
See what we’ve done,
buildings rise up into the clouds,
planes soar overhead,
we’ve mastered the earth
and the sky above.

And now the universe beyond!
their eyes glow with greed;
that’s the place we’re headed for,
they assure us,
that is what we’ll take over next!

It’s all ours,
everywhere you look,
to use as we please,
there’s no One and nothing
that matters but us,

least of all that oh-so-scary
imaginary Friend
you claim to know;
the Big Guy who supposedly lives
in a place we cannot see.

It’s all ours, not His,
and certainly not yours –
the poor and the needy?
the aged and frail ??!! –
what’s it got to do with them?

Compassion?
Don’t make me laugh,
there’s no money in that;
you can’t make a profit
if you’re giving it all away.

Yes, we’ve done rather well
for ourselves
if we do say so ourselves
life is good here
sitting on top of the world.

Singlehandedly
they’ve forced nature
to do their bidding,
and recreated creation
in their own image

reflected
in the steel and glass monoliths
that have turned our cities
into dark and wind-swept tunnels
full of filth and poverty,

in the toxins
that taint our water,
destroy our crops,
poison our bodies,
and kill all hope.

Smug and self-satisfied
they scorn the truth
of that stolen sweetness:
a harvest they did not sow
grown by a Planter they deny –

possessing
the fruit of knowledge
without wisdom;
they have great riches
yet own nothing of value.

Slowly, steadily,
the devourers are devoured;
eaten up by desire
for an unattainable,
unknown Something;

shrouded in silken sheets
their souls fall
into drug-induced comas –
silencing, for a few hours,
the fears that haunt them;

daylight comes
yet they do not awaken,
but stumble blindly
in pursuit of a happiness
they can never know.

All is theirs:
all they have acquired,
the years they’ve wasted,
the lives they’ve damaged,
the evils they have done,

a weight
beyond all bearing,
a millstone
to drag them down,
golden handcuffs without a key;

They’ve built a kingdom
free from interference:
a prison of their own construction
a hand-hewn gallows
strangling their souls.

Let us listen,
and listen closely
when they boast and brag
and laugh and tell us:
See what we’ve done!

Most holy God, have mercy upon us,
lead us not into temptation,
don’t let us fall;
guide us away from danger,
wake us up in case we doze.

Bless us, O great Redeemer,
give us the eyes to see
the pit where hubris leads,
strengthen our faith and understanding
so we will always rely on You.

It isn’t ours, Lord –
this lovely planet –
we didn’t build it:
the whole thing’s Yours;
these temple precincts in which we dwell;

We are a priesthood
on interim duty –
tenants who are merely passing through,
charged to serve and protect
what actually belongs to You.

Let us praise the Lord always,
and rejoice unceasingly:
for we truly have a lot to brag about
and it is all due, Most Holy One,
to You.

Amen.

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About inklingscommunity

I am a struggling Christian, committed pacifist, near-obsessive recycler, incurable animal lover, inveterate tree-hugger; a nature mystic, a socialized introvert, an advocate for the vulnerable, an opponent of exploiters.
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