I Only Believe in God on Sundays

A Eucharistic reflection — how the table overcomes the mundane and the broken.

You walk gingerly
Around and through the puddles
Emboldened by the dogs and sheep distracting the gold
Up to the glass panes
Adorned with shaped plastic
Masquerading as sturdy, constant metal;

You enter. A room wider than the rest.
A face with a dull shine tries
But, you notice, you know.
You see the past illumination, or at least the past hope for it.
It floundered long ago.
You say, “Good effort” or “good game”
And move on.

And to what?
More of the same.
It is always the same.
Calloused hands meet dry, cracked finger tips;
Chapped lips meet the cool ceramic cup, only to be seared.
It is all the same.
No different than a Tuesday morning trip to the dry cleaner.

All of the sudden, the lights dim.
That’s ironic, yet fitting.
(At least they know, unlike the lady at the doors)
You find yourself ushered with the rest
To squeaky, creaky chairs next
To squeaky, cheeky men
Who claim to be otherwise.

The music plays, then fades.
It crescendos and it declines.
It stirs – a sliver of light protrudes
But quickly dissipates.
All is stripped away, and we simply come
To the weekly eulogy
Regurgitating the same ole[d] story.

It is strange to eulogize weekly
Some days His story shames, some days it encourages
You stir – a sliver of light protrudes
But quickly dissipates.
You begin to focus on the dichotomy of his black and white
How darkness engulfs all but a sliver
A silver lining hides, you are sure.

You descend from the heights and
Focus back on his words
He is finishing. You think. You never know with him.
The story ends the same.
It always ends the same.
There is a cross, hanging, basking in an intense fools gold.
He points to it. Remember. He always says that.

Okay, twenty minutes remain.
You are hungry.
Always at this time.
It is always at the same time.
You wonder, “Where is the group going?”
Probably Chinese. It is always Chinese.”
Oh…“Your kingdom come, your will be done…”

You recite and follow along (mostly).
You feel like the time forever extends.
You wonder, “Can we not just sing a song and dismiss?”
The liturgy of the church down the street closes like that.
Songs…sermon…songs, lunch — every week.
You always hear about how dynamic their preacher is.
And the music! Oh the music! They produce their own albums over there!

The climax sneaks up on you.
More participation. You think it will never end.
The sides of your pants charred.
Your leg hairs singed, never to grow back.
Yet, they want more.
Fine. You decide to give them more.
You fall into their temptation
To give them your all.
Snow begins to fall
Shrouding the dull and cracked flesh.
White as a boy who learns the origin of his baby brother.
You want to stay inside and avoid it,
But you know — it’s not possible
It is always the same.
So, you go.

You join the multitude
To the place where the bread fell from heaven;
To the place where water turned to wine;
To the place where all is remembered,
Whether literally or figuratively.
You do not care.
It does not matter.

The place of the skull
Rising from perceived ashes,
Presiding in a small, strangely familiar place
That longs to be your home.
There, you dip the body in the blood
Relishing the cool snow that cleanses
The stayed for body that no longer flows egregiously.

You no longer remember.
For He is remember.


2 thoughts on “I Only Believe in God on Sundays

  1. This is beautiful, Justin. I’ve read it through a few times. I will definitely be re-reading it over and over again! What a gift you gave us. As soon as I finished reading it a couple of times I was reminded of a poem called “The Place Within,” which happens to be one of my favorites:

    “My place is You, your place is in me.
    Yet it is the place of all men.
    Am I not diminished by them in this place.
    I am more alone – more than if there were no one else – I am alone with myself. At the same time I am multiplied by them in the Cross which stood on this place. This multiplying with no diminishment remains a mystery:
    the Cross goes against the current.
    In it numbers retreat before man.

    In You – how did the Cross come to be?

    Now let us walk down the narrow steps as if down a tunnel through a wall.
    Those who once walked down the slope
    stopped at the place where now there is a slab.
    They anointed your body and then laid it in a tomb.
    Through your body you had a place on earth,
    the outward place of the body you exchanged for a place within, saying:
    ‘Take, all of you, and eat of this.’

    The radiation of that place within
    relates to the outward places on Earth
    to which I came on pilgrimage.
    You chose this place centuries ago –
    the place in which You give yourself and accept me.”


  2. “The Place Within” is beautiful. Thank you for sharing, Robert. It is also a very fitting reflection for the next few days!


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