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

approved from on high

and they stood and knelt and bowed on cue

and were grateful that the 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 when prior love 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 fill the pews" and

"God will be pleased"

the crowd outside increased and grew

as those inside became more strident in the condemnation

and the bishop came and 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 overlay of white lace

that would be the proper colors and contrast for the cameras

he was proof that those inside were the chosen few

and the people outside heard his voice

and pleaded with him: give us Eucharist to nourish our souls

the bishop replied we have no priests to serve

but let us close your churches and sell them

to the highest bidders and use the funds to pay for our sins

and those we sought to deny and hide

we'll build a much larger church

with a mortgage whose payments will be one

of many good works that you can do

O God if only Tetzel were alive and the people said give us priests

and 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 for the sacred oils have blessed their hands

God works in strange ways

and 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 those who are 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 once said

and will be repeated 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

or to comfort, console or forgive

and more of those inside 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 crosier or muffled through pointed hat

I had a dream and in that dream

I heard a priest and bishop too preaching

their voices were hollow and insincere and no one listened anymore

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 another voice

one once condemned by those in the church on the hill

because he spoke the truth

and crowds began to gather with email and paperback books

and yellow-paged magazines

and they found honesty 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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