Empty Lunch Box (Mathnawi)

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Which of you morons forgot to bring the bread?
Who got up and left his sense still in the bed?

Watch out, beware, take heed of the rising yeast
Leav’ning the dough of Herod and Pharisee.

Master, we didn’t bring any bread to eat
Before we got in the boat to cross the sea.

Why are you worried about missing a meal?
Have scales covered your eyes? Have your ears been sealed?

How many baskets-full did nine thousand leave?
We picked up, all told, a total of nineteen.

Why would I warn about an empty lunch box,
Not the far greater danger: Herod that fox?

Forgive us, Master, for our hardness of heart;
Of Pharisee-teaching we will take no part.



Vines (Mathnawi)

When Ozymandias falls by slung smooth stone,
All that remains will be King Messiah’s throne.

Pride, invulnerable as kudzu, will fall,
Laid low in the dust when David’s Son will call.

Cocksure Self, a master at masquerading,
With broken knees will see his kingdom fading.

Why won’t you lay down your arms? Why will you die?
Why will you be cut down to ruin where you lie?

Jesse’s stump sprouts with the Branch of righteousness;
The True Vine breaks the concrete of callousness.


Gadarene (Mathnawi)

“What do You have to do with us, Most High’s Son?
We are Legion, we are Many; You are One.

What are You going to do, send us away?
Are You here to judge us before that Day?”

The bent-kneed demon faith genuflects in fear,
But O, the sweet peace of the one who now hears:

“Clear out, Legion, that pig-herd I’ll let you kill,
But to this loved son’s soul I say: ‘Peace, be still.’

You may not come with Me now; instead I send
You on My mission to family and friend:

To those with ears to hear and eyes that can see,
Show them all: ‘This is what the Lord did for me.’ ”


Family (Mathnawi)

Outside Capernaum crowds waits My mother,
But who are my mother, sisters, and brothers?

Not spectacle seekers, watching who’ll be healed,
Not freeloaders, looking for their next free meal.

But those who do the will of My dear Father,
The ones He graces with faith–sons and daughters–

It is the work of God to believe in Me;
Whomever the Son sets free is free indeed.


Old and New (Mathnawi)

Fasting is not welcome at a wedding feast;
As long as the Groom is near, mourning must cease.

When old cloth, which served its purpose, needs repair
An unshrunk new patch’s grip, it cannot bear.

The old, inflexible skin set in its ways,
The fermentation of the new, it can’t contain.

The new has come, and it must replace the old!
Splendid garments instead of ratty and holed!

The feast is now here! Plenty for all who look
For more than rotting, dead bait, hiding a hook.

Cana’s stone waterpots themselves have been cleansed.
The richest, best vintage: forgiveness of sins!