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poetry

prayer 22

My God, my God, why have you forsaken us?
Your help seems so far off.
Through restless nights and life-draining days,
our cries go unheard.

Yet we are supposed to believe that you are holy;
enthroned on the praise of our orthodox lips.
In you the oppressed have trusted;
the only hope of deliverance.
To you the violated cries have come;
the only possibility of salvation.

But the poor are worms, something less than human.
Scorned and despised in the sweatshops of Western progress;
Forgotten and abandoned in the ignorance of Western superiority.
All the day long the poor are mocked with an offered salvation;
“Commit yourself to the Lord,” they are told, “and he will save you.”

Was the geography of our nativity your choice?
By the mere accident of birth
some are born into the welcoming embrace of mothers;
others ― snatched from the very womb.
In both maddening wealth and degrading poverty,
we have been cast upon you from birth.
You are God.
Be not far away, for trouble is near.
There is no one to help.

I am poured out like water,
and all my bones are out of joint;
My heart is like wax;
it is melted within my breast.
My mouth is dried up like a broken clay pot,
and my tongue sticks to my jaws;
you lay me in the dust of death.

For dogs are all around me;
and I am numbered among the evildoers that encircle me.
Forgive me for what I have done,
and what I have left undone.

But you O Lord, be not far away!
If you own the cattle on a thousand hills,
why have they migrated to just one hill?
If you are just,
why are children sentenced to death in exchange for the freedom of the guilty?
The cries are coming before you,
do you hear them?
O God of the living, when will you act
on behalf of those whose only consistent source of water is their tears?

We are waiting.
If you are the Messiah, tell us.
Tell us and we might believe that you’ve got this under control.
Tell us and we might believe that good news is being brought to the poor.
If you are the Messiah, tell us.
Tell us and we might believe that the captives will be released,
the blind will be made to see,
that the oppressed will taste freedom.
And here is your answer: “If I tell you, you will not believe.”
We want to believe.
We are waiting in your silence.

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About david b. clark

a husband and father || a student of philosophy, theology, history, literature, music, art, computer science

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