This is a poem that ends a chapter of some reflections I've been writing about regarding parish ministry. The chapter has the same name as the poem--God around the edges.
I believe in the Edges of God.
Truly, that is my limit on the whole question of Creed.
I don't believe in God storming out of the clouds
and smiting me to smithereens if I am bad.
I don't believe in a God who would wake me up,
pin me to my bed and give me bleeding sores
on my palms and the top of my feet,
much less my side.
(Explain that to your general practitioner!)
I don't believe in a God who would instruct me
to slay infidels or displace peaceful people
so I can have a Motherland.
I don't believe in a God that has nothing better to do
besides visit bedrooms around the globe
uncovering (literally) illicit love.
I don't believe in a God who frets
about who wins the next election.
I don't believe in a God who believes in 'abomination'.
I believe in the edges of God--
the soft parts, the tender pieces--
the feathers and the fur of God.
I do believe in the ears of God,
which stick out—cartoon like—on the edges of God's Being.
I, myself, listen and listen
and then listen some more
for the Still, Small Voice.
I believe in God's nose—pronounced and distinctively
Jewish in my belief--
I smell trouble from time to time
and imagine God sniffs it out too.
The toenails and finger nails of God--
there is some protein I can hold onto,
if only tentatively.
Hair, there's something to believe in as well.
God's hair—full, luxurious, without need of jell or conditioner,
filling up the Temple, heaven, the whole universe!
I can believe in God's hair.
God's edges shine and blink and relect color.
God's edges are like the little brook,
flowing out of the woods beyond the tire swing,
in what used to be my grandmother's land.
God's edges are like the voices of old friends,
old lovers, people long gone but not forgotten.
God's edges are not sharp or angled.
The edges of God are well worn by practice
and prayer and forgotten possibilities
about to be remembered.
God's edges are the wrists of someone
you don't quite recall but can't ever remove from your heart.
God's edges are rimmed and circled
with bracelets of paradox and happenstance
and accidents with meaning.
God is edged with sunshine,
over-ripe, fallen apples, crushed beneath your feet
and the bees hovering around them.
God's edges hold storm clouds too--
the Storm of the Century coming fast,
tsunamis and tornadoes, spinning out of control.
Blood from God's hands—now there's an edge of God
to ponder, reach for, then snatch your hand away.
God bleeding is an astonishing thought.
God bleeding can help my unbelief.
And most, most of all,
the edges of God are God's tears.
Tears of frustration, longing, loss, deep pain,
profound joy, wonder and astonishment--
tears that heal and relieve and comfort...
and disturb the Cosmos.
That's what I believe in: