woe to you

i know my woe is coming, i’ve known it all my life
my prayers are not to spare me, “just spare my son and wife,”
i cry to God each night after reading too much news
that breaks my heart and makes me see that the kingdom
was closer when it was just a handful of jews
who would take Jesus’ scant teachings and bring them
to a town that flirted with flames and clues
found in flights of its birds, but did it know,
or even care, that its kingdom to come
was no consolation, but purely woe?

woe to you, woe to me, it’s going to hurt a bit, but will it hurt forever?
woe to me, i am rich, i have received my consolation,
but am i as bad as the man who passed lazarus begging at his gate?
did i not prophesy in Jesus’ name, drive out demons and perform miracles?
did i not declare to all the world that mine was a Christian nation?

did i not tithe (well, not technically tithe,
but put some kind of heavenly bribe
in the plate almost every single week that i attended church?)
i mean, a man had to survive, didn’t he?

did i not give to non-profits in my town who would address root causes,
and convene consortiums to discuss
how to prevent men like lazarus
from ending up at the gate in the first place?

didn’t i appropriately
have a contrite face and groan a bit
when watching an ad for a starving child?

wasn’t i more poor than say,
a billionaire president–
surely i was closer to lazarus in spirit,
if not in substance?

surely i suffered in grief and felt what it meant
to be poor during those years i was a student?

didn’t i take a lesser paying job
and a career path that was more rewarding
in ways that weren’t monetary?

but, woe to me, because didn’t i receive my consolation?

asking such questions is probably too hazardous…
the one who’ll really judge you is going to be lazarus.

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