Blessed is the slap
On one cheek and again across the other
Of corner-office saints
Sucking blood from the whip-tracked backs
Of beaten brothers and sisters too far away to defend themselves,
(Thank god, because the guy on the corner who smells sure doesn’t sell),
Valorizing and monetizing their pain
For advertising campaigns and book deals.
Blessed is the blow
On comfort saints who read those books
And weep to make penance
And go to their book club and talk about how this made them feel over tea and cookies.
The book will go on their shelves,
Alongside their Bibles and beliefs,
To be accessed in emergency.
Blessed is the trolling of
The media martyrs,
Those who talk big
Via graceless creeds and faceless feeds,
And won’t talk to their neighbors about Jesus,
Except to excuse political action
Or refuse socializing on Sundays.
Jesus was never so tiny.
Sometimes there is reason for rebuke.
Blessed are you, royals of a kingdom unfurling,
When the fact of your faith
Encounters real opposition,
Not well-deserved discipline.
When being a Christian stinks because you’re being a Christian.
This kingdom is coming,
And your preparation here
Is salty and harrowing.
The narrowing of your public platform
Is to be expected, not rejected.
Look to Jesus, your Monarch,
Watch how He suffers,
And know your destiny is the same.
Watch how He rises,
And take hope.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
(Liturgical poetry for the Sundays between Epiphany and Ash Wednesday is inspired by the Beatitudes, Matthew 5:3-12. Photo by Linnea Wheeler.)