I Would Have Danced a Jig


Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi; and on the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” And they answered him, “John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.” He asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Messiah.” And he sternly ordered them not to tell anyone about him.

Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.”

Mark 8:27-38

I would have danced a jig

that day; “Messiah”—recognized—

at last! I would have shouted hallelujahs,

beat the drums, called all to sing the kingdom

come, joined hands with twelve brave

lads, paraded into town, our banners

streaming in the Galilean winds.


But no; instead…

he solemn spoke of death, his death, in soil cold

and raw, descending there to plant our dust

and ashes, plant the closings of our lives

in silence of a rock tomb dark with questions,

sealed with heavy stone; three midnight days,

tender holding every mote of all our earthiness.


Rising then to roll away forbidding stones

that oft imprison hearts and minds; to open

doors shut tight against the light;

to someday raise our dust to dance with him

among the stars, beneath sky banners

stitched with golden threads spooling

from the sun in never-ending hallelujah joy.


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