My Dream

I had a dream

And in that dream

I saw a church high on a hilltop

bathed in soft light

of holy picture hues

and in that church

the people prayed with proper words

words approved from on high

and they stood and knelt

and bowed on cue

and were grateful

that God's faithful remnant

included themselves.

With smug pride

they thought of the countless faces

in the multitude outside

who were not welcome,

those who sought love once again

when prior loves proved false,

those who disagreed

with pronouncements

that echoed from the walls

of the church on the hill

with hollow phrases

like God will provide,

if you fill the wombs

you'll fill the pews

God will be pleased

The crowd outside

increased and grew

as those inside

became more strident

in their condemnation

and the bishop came

the people in the church

rejoiced as he strode down the aisle

crosier in hand and miter on his head

dressed in long colorful robes

with an overlay of white lace

proper colors and contrast

for the cameras he'd invited.

He was proof that those inside

were the chosen few.

The people outside heard his voice

and pleaded

give us Eucharist to nourish our souls.

The bishop replied

we have no priests to serve you

but let us close your churches

and sell them to the highest bidders

and use the funds

to pay for our sins,

those we sought to deny and hide.

We'll build a much larger church

with a mortgage whose payment

will be one of the many good works

that you can do.

The people said

give us priests.

The bishop replied

we shall go to foreign lands

to search for willing men

and you will receive them

with love and tolerance

though their culture and language

are unfamiliar to us all.

sacred oils have blessed their hands.

God works in strange ways.

The people responded

what of our own sons and daughters

whose hearts are filled with love and prayer?

Are they not worthy to serve?

Are not priests chosen from among

our people to lead and serve?

Was not Jesus from among his kin?

Did he not choose from among

the common men around him?

And was it not a woman

who had the courage

and love

to stand by His cross?

And the bishop replied

they are not fit

by gender or marital bond

as the Holy Father of Rome

decreed infallibly

without challenge

or reason

until the end of time.

And the people were sad

for they knew

they would be without priests

to lead and welcome

into the family of the church

to comfort

to console

to forgive

or celebrate in the presence of their God.

And more of those in the church

filed out to join the throng outside

and some sought their solace

in other sanctuaries

where God's love flowed freely

and directly

not crushed by the crosier

or muffled through the pointed hat.

I had a dream

and in that dream

I heard a priest

and a bishop preaching.

Their voices were hollow and insincere

no one listened any more

many began to examine the faults

of those who preached

with their voices

but not with their lives.

I had a dream

that the people outside

began to listen to other voices,

voices once condemned by those

in the church on the hill

because they spoke the truth

and lived their words.

And crowds began to gather

with e-mail and paper back books

and yellow paged magazines

and they found honesty

and tolerance and love

and God's grace at last.

And the church on the hill

fell silent

except for voices

no longer heard

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