In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
God did many wondrous and mysterious things
Blessing a people to bless others
Delivering them from slavery to a Promised Land.
Rescuing them from self-destruction
Showing them mercy from everlasting to everlasting.
Then, some time ago, God died.
It might have been by the pen of Frederich Nietzsche,
Or in the ovens of Aushwitz.
Or on the tongue of Dr. Matthews, in the Spring of 1983
Who taught me that theology was no longer the study of God,
But the exploration of what it means to be human.
When I was young, God was very much alive.
Spewing fire and brimstone from the pulpit
Of the First Mount Pleasant Baptist church.
Kneeling beside me when I asked Jesus to come into my heart.
Holding me tight on nights I would hear my parents screaming at each other,
Softly whispering to me – “I am with you always.”
When I read Elie Wiesel’s Night –
The gallows scene where the young boy hangs there –
His tongue hanging out, swollen and bluish,
One man asks, “For God’s sake, where is God?”
Eliezar says to himself,
This is where – hanging here from this gallows…”
I thought of Jesus hanging on the cross,
Instead of sympathy, he received scorn.
“If you are the son of God, save yourself and us.”
Instead, Jesus looked up to heaven and said,
“Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.”
Then God died.
And though he came back to life three days later,
We killed him again. And again. And again.
At the pen of pompous philosophers,
In the gas chambers, the killing fields, the executioner’s chair
On the tongues of tenured teachers.
But the voice of God keeps calling out to us
From beyond the pages of the obituaries
(in His best Mark Twain voice) –
“The news of my untimely departure,
Though much celebrated,
Has been grossly exaggerated.”
“Elevator” from Constantine Gavrykov in Creative Mind