Meditation from 2 Timothy — Paul in prison writing his last letter

Does one ever get used to cold darkness,

To hard and bitter clay atop icy bedrock?

Many a time have I been in this place, in

Other places and at other times, all

Different and exactly the same – 

Chained to walls, or once to soldiers

Alas, no more

A chill so deep, chattering teeth,

Blue lips and fingers, numb feet and toes,

Shivering, fetal position, rags and excrement

Damp stench of urine, fever, and human dung

No bars, windows, doors, visitors, except the

Sentry with bowls of slop twice daily,

Nauseating and unidentifiable

Rags only, festering sores, oozing pus,

Eyes burning and blurry, without 

Cloak or scrolls or parchment or quill 

No companions except the rats that

Race across my legs, looking for a

Drop of gruel. They look at me with the

Longing eyes of brothers

Abandoned. Alone. Always alone.  

They are ashamed of me – 

Criminal, incarcerated, forsaken by

God, guilty, must be guilty of

Something, otherwise, 

Why would he be there?

Chained and alone?

Surely, if God were for him

Mighty angels would have

Snapped the chains and stunned the

Guards – no, he is deserted by God,

Cast off for heresy – absurd to think of a

Kingdom that welcomes whores and pimps and

Pagan curs 

God has his reasons for leaving him there – 

Prosperity, wealth, success, victory, conquering 

Come to the ones with whom God is pleased

Surely, they say, what goes around comes around, and

He is only eating his just desserts

So, distance yourself, they cry, lest you too

Sit in chains

The end is near. 

The executioner’s axe is sharp.

There is no victory. 

No parade. 

No strong finish. 

No miracles. 

No deliverance. 

No kiss of grace or touch of love in

The damp – only the wails of 

Distant prisoners being dragged to

Stakes and crosses and chopping blocks

So their blood can oil the machine, or,

Depending on their choice,

Mingle with the pascal mystery

And then …

He comes

I see no visions

No flashes of light this time

No audible voice this time

But he is here, and I, 

Enveloped in perfect Love,

Am not at all alone.

And all is well

Warmed by grace

Embraced by acceptance

Enlivened by divine smiles

Held by everlasting arms

At the universe center

I lay me down to sleep.

About Dr. Larry Taylor

Radical Anabaptist, Jesus Freak, Red Letter Christian, sailor, thinker, spiritual director, life coach, pastor, teacher, chaplain, counselor, writer, husband, father, grandfather, dog-sitter

Posted on February 10, 2022, in anabaptist, Bible, Bible Teaching, Christianity, Poetry. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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