The delivery of the message

He is delivering
again
this Friday afternoon
death threats from God
Like a kid on a bicycle
hurling newspapers at front doors
he aims his missive at our conscience
He feels responsible
for the news
he holds.
Hell is reserved
for You
he says,
if you deviate
in your practice of religion
if we innovate
in our prayers to God.
But he mentions not
belief
its intricacies
its pursuit,
what it is to be good
to practice correctly
about making mistakes
and forgiveness
about the frailty of being human
and the benevolence of God.
I smile up at him
widely
from the back row
to engage him
into a reflection,
or to enrage him
into a silence.
Unperturbed
he thunders
through his sermon
a self-appointed ambassador
of God’s plan.
His words
accusing
and demeaning.
His condemnations
now weaponizing
his diatribe.
To much relief
his speech ends
and the formal prayer begins
He is leading us again
this time
reciting
only God’s words
not his own
beautifully
soulfully
emotionally.
I am driven to tears
by these words
in another tongue
and
by this moment
and its confluence
of
emotions,
my neediness for
wisdom and guidance
and the
elemental simplicity
of conversation with God.
As I return
from
my reverie
It is plain
that the words
this man chooses
to explain
‘for’ God
are not akin
to those
God Himself
has chosen.
If he’d stayed
true
to the message
the fire and brimstone
of his repertoire
would be
preceded,
overwhelmed
by tidings of Mercy
Beneficence
acceptance.
I realize
that
I do not need to be scared
daily
or weekly
on behalf of God.
I am
inevitably
instantaneously
humbled
when I recognize
His creative force
His ownership
His unbounded dominion
of all that is
apparent
and not so
apparent.
I would
rather that
my fellow man
cajoled me
with a tone
less condescending
with a message
more hopeful
using words
more empowering
more loving
more forgiving...
kinda like
God.

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