The Ancient Modern

Nicodemus /  Joshua Alan Sturgill

We come to Jesus at night
with questions we are afraid to ask
for fear of the dogmatic glare
we shine on ourselves.

We want to know
How do I to enter the Kingdom of God?
which is our way of asking
Which is the least difficult path, 
the path where all my choices
and all my "self" is preserved 
just as I want it to be?

Before Jesus can give
an answer, we also add our list
of conditions:

What if I like being alone?
What is there to do?
What if I am Buddhist? Or,
Will Buddhists be allowed?
What if I am divorced?
What if I have a degree?

Will my identity be appreciated?
What if I am gay? Or,
Will gay people be allowed?
Do I have to be conservative?
Do I have to be liberal?

What if I am busy?

What if I already have enough?

I am already moral.
I am already spiritual.
I am already religious.
What if I hate religion?

What if I have been abused?
Will my abuser be allowed in?
What if can't bring myself
to care about the things
I know I should care about?
What if my sense of justice isn't
what the Kingdom promotes?

Which is all to say: Jesus, 
if you want me there,
your answer should be ready 
to fit my prior commitments.

Then we placate Him with You are God
and You are good, and Good Teacher,
and the Bible says... 

But He sees into our conditions with eyes 
that are not metaphorically windows, 
and says something we can only
receive ambiguously:

You are made in the Image of God
and yet you don't know these things ( )

What punctuation should close this sentence?
Is this a question?  A diagnosis?
Or is this not a declaration at all,
but an invitation?

He says come follow but never
hands us a map. He says belief 
does not require sightbut we want
a brochure and a website
before we make any decisions.

It's as if we want Jesus' answer
so that we can judge Him by it.

But He didn't come for judgement.

He seems to say: the only answer 
is what I Am

All poetry and supplementary material: copyright 2019 by Joshua Alan Sturgill

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