Get behind me Satan!

(for Lent 2, Mark 8:31-38 written 27 August 2020)

“Get behind me Satan!”
 he said to one he valued
 as rock to build a church on:
 worth noting just how quickly
 key insights get distorted
 by our survival instinct
 and lustful need for power
 to do away with suffering
 and concentrate on winning.

 “Oh! Get behind me Satan!”
 he said to something in him:
 a desperate human longing
 to say pain must not happen,
 to ask that God forbid it.
 He fears that he might stumble
 upon the block of safety:
 be tempted to act godlike
 instead of truly godly,
 escape the mortal price tag
 of death outside the city.

 Cry: “Get behind me Satan!”
 Alone upon the mountains 
 and in the midnight garden
 he prayed for dispensation:
 “Please let this cup pass from me!
 Let’s do without communion
 with blood and broken body.
 Impervious and immortal,
 I’ll lead a better empire
 without the need for dying.”

 “No, get behind me Satan!”
 To be secure and powerful
 are common human failings,
 a self-defeating cycle
 with endless streams of victims.
 It’s human to be praying:
 “Dear God, don’t let this happen
 to us or those we treasure.
 We can’t succumb to covid,
 or mental loss in ageing,
 or be displaced and homeless,
 and as for facing dying,
 we hope we barely notice
 between a sleep and waking.”

 But get behind me Satan,
 for loving and creating
 are forged through death and rising,
 and God would rather suffer,
 and share in being mortal,
 than be untouched and distant,
 unmoved, beyond our crying.
 Take up your cross and follow
 from tomb to resurrection.
 Accepting loss means finding
 what seems to be a failure
 can bring God’s kingdom nearer.

 Barbara Messner 27 August 2020




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