Wednesday, December 26, 2007


"You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you are forever opposing the Holy Spirit, just as your ancestors used to do. Which of the prophets did your ancestors not persecute? They killed those who foretold the coming of the Righteous One, and now you have become his betrayers and murderers. You are the ones that received the law as ordained by angels, and yet you have not kept it."

When they heard these things, they became enraged and ground their teeth at Stephen. But filled with the Holy Spirit, he gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. "Look," he said, "I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!"

But they covered their ears, and with a loud shout all rushed together against him. Then they dragged him out of the city and began to stone him; and the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul. While they were stoning Stephen, he prayed, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." Then he knelt down and cried out in a loud voice, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them." When he had said this, he died.

"Boxing Day," indeed. Count on the English to step gingerly over the saints, even the first martyr. It is no coincidence that his is the first feast day after Christmas. Food for thought there...

In the meantime, we move from the sublime to the ridiculous. I get to see my children today -- one for the first time in seven months -- and I am giddy with anticipation. Nothing planned, going to "go with the flow" after all these months of trying to get them to pin themselves down to visit dates... Am I actually learning something?

Of course, thoughts of the
Goat are never far from my mind: kinder, gentler thoughts than followed immediately upon his departure. That wild, keening longing made sense, but also riled me considerable. It is this slow, steady, tender longing that tells me this is more than generated heat... and so indeed I must hope it is.

Beloved, hold me close. Before we dance
The horizontal mambo, or its upright
Lead-in, let me feel your arms around me,
Your caressing hands upon my face,

On every part of me. It was not chance
That brought me to you, lets us sleep and sup
Together. This sad exile has been crowned
With glory, and I call the reason: grace.

God's grace, your grace, your gentle way, your glance,
Combined to seal my fate one autumn night,
When I at last had run myself to ground,
Had called myself by name, called off the chase.

I've paid in blood for every step but this,
And now I am rewarded with a kiss.

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