A Communion Poem

While reading Philip Ryken's book, City on a Hill, I came across the following poem by Mark Noll.  The poem tangibly captures our desperate need for God's grace, and it reminds us how that grace is manifest to us at the Lord's Table.  As always, I'm anxious for the feast that will be set for Sunday morning. Note - Scots' form is a method of communion in which people come forward to tables in the front of the sanctuary to receive the sacrament.

Scot's form in the suburbs

by Mark A. Noll

The sedenatary Presbyterians

awoke, arose, and filed to tables spread

with white, to humble bits that showed how God

almighty had decided to embrace

humanity, and why these clean, well-fed,

well-dressed suburbanites might need his grace.

The pious cruel, the petty gossipers

and callous climbers on the make, the wives

with icy tongues and husbands with their hearts

of stone, the ones who battle drink and do

not always win, the power lawyers mute

before this awful bar of mercy, boys

uncertain of themselves and girls not sure

of where they fit, the poor and rich hemmed in

alike by cash, physicians waiting to

be healed, two women side by side - the one

with unrequited longing for a child,

the other terrified by signs within

of life, the saintly weary weary in

pursuit of good, the academics (soft

and cossetted) who posture over words,

the travelers coming home from chasing wealth

or power or wantonness, the mothers

choked by dual duties, parents nearly crushed

by children died or children lost, and some

with cancer-ridden bodies, some with spikes

of pain in chest or back or knee or mind

or heart.  They come, O Christ, they come

to you.

They came, they sat, they listened to the words,

"for you my body broken."  Then they ate

and turned away - the spent unspent, the dead

recalled, a hint of color on the psychic

cheek - from tables groaning under weight

of tiny cups and little crumbs of bread.