Monday, July 19, 2010

The Shepherd (Psalm 23)


THE SHEPHERD LOOKED AT THE STARS

SO CLEAR IN THE AIR

SO BRIGHT IN THE NIGHT

HE LOST HIMSELF

IN THE WONDER OF A GOD

WHO COULD CREATE A UNIVERSE

SO GREAT

I WONDER IF HE TENDS IT

LIKE I DO MY SHEEP

DOES HE FUSS WHEN THEY ARE SICK

CRY WHEN THEY DIE

BE ANGRY WHEN THEY ARE LOST

HAPPY WHEN THEY ARE FOUND

THE SHEPHERD SAT

AND WATCHED THE STARS

CONTENT

KNOWING THAT GOD

WAS SHEPHERDING HIM



FRANK A VOLLMER

Friday, November 20, 2009

Papa Loon Has Moved


and is still publishing his wonderful poems. You can catch up with him here.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Studying Religious Texts (Job 29 (Micah 6:8)




I GROW WEARY
STUDYING RELIGIOUS TEXTS

STUDYING THE MINUTE DIFFERENCES
IN RELIGIOUS SECTS

AND WONDER
WHAT DOES IT MATTER
HOW MANY ANGELS
ARE ON THE HEAD OF A PIN

DOES IT MATTER
IF IT’S THE SHARP END

IT SEEMS SO MUCH
LIGHTNING
AND THUNDER
WHEN WE REALLY NEED
LIFE GIVING RAIN

I AM REMINDED
OF WHAT
MICAH SAID

He has showed you, O man, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
And to walk humbly with your God.

OR JOB
WHEN HE SAID
I rescued the poor who cried for help

The fatherless who had none to assist him.
The man who was dying blessed me;

I made the widow's heart sing.
I put on righteousness as my clothing;

Justice was my robe and my turban.
I was eyes to the blind

And feet to the lame.
I was a father to the needy;

I took up the case of the stranger.
I broke the fangs of the wicked

And snatched the victims from their teeth.

SOMEHOW
I THINK
THAT ALL THE TENETS
OF RELIGION
ARE MEANINGLESS
UNLESS THEY’RE BACKED UP
WITH ACTION

KNOWLEDGE OF THE TEN COMMANDMENTS
MEAN NOTHING
UNLESS I TRY
TO LIVE UP TO THEM

IF I AM REQUIRED
TO HONOR GOD
I DO IT BY HONORING CREATION


FRANK A VOLLMER

Rage




Why do the nations
Run like wild horses
Trampling the grass
Whinnying and neighing

A ruckus
Proud to be free

To be free

A better translation perhaps
For psalm two

The root word in Hebrew
For rage
Means
The snorting of horses

But what use is a horse
That runs free
To beat down the vineyard
And wheat field

To answer to no master
To be free

Of what use is the horse

In acts
After the wondrous events
Of the ascension
The election of Matthias
Pentecost
And Peter’s sermon
The church set out
To make society better

The poor were fed
The sick were consoled
The widow was befriended
The work was done with a happy face
No gloomy Christians there

They were useful

They had accepted
The bridle of Christ
They were useful

The nations may rage
As wild horses will
But eventually
They will be broken
God’s will
Will be done
And the horse will come
At its masters call


Frank a Vollmer

Easter in a Warmer Clime




I’M USED TO EASTER IN A COLD CLIMATE
WHERE SNOW
OR THREATS OF SNOW
ARE IMMINENT

WHERE THE LAKE IF NOT FROZEN
IS BROKEN INTO ICY SLUDGE
THAT SOUNDS LIKE BELLS
AS IT BEATS AGAINST THE SHORE

AND GREENERY
IF IT HAS VENTURED FORTH
IS OFTEN BURNED BY FROST

BUT EASTER
HERE IN THE SOUTH
IS VIBRANT AND ALIVE
EVERYTHING IS IN BLOOM




IF WEATHER
SHOULD MIRROR THE MOOD
WOULD NOT GOOD FRIDAY
BE BETTER CELEBRATED
IN WINTER
WHEN THE COLDNESS
OF OUR HEARTS
FORCED HIM TO DIE

WHEN THE BLOOD HE SHED
WAS LIKE ICICLES DRIPPING

BUT WE CELEBRATE EASTER
WITH AN EXUBERANCE
I THINK HE WOULD HAVE FOUND
EMBARRASSING

IN EARLY MORNING
BEFORE THE BIRDS SANG
THE STONE ROLLED AWAY
AND HE WAS GONE

AND LIKE A SEED
THAT HAD LAIN
UNDER THE SNOW
BLOSSOMED
AND THE HARVEST WAS BEGUN


FRANK A VOLLMER

Things




There are birds
Eating seeds
From my feeder

There are birds
Nesting
IN my trees

The birds are singing
Lauds
Or vespers
And other hours in between

As I sit in my lawn chair
Pleased with myself
And all I see

My piece of ground
My home

Lord of all I own
Or a vassal

Servant really
Given talents to invest

Given things
Not just to have
But to share

To give my song
As freely as the birds

To chant my thanks
For all he has done
For me

And be ready to fly home
When called
Unencumbered by things


Frank a Vollmer



PREPARE TO EVACUATE
PREPARE TO EVACUATE
THIS FOLLOWED A KNOCK ON THE DOOR
AND A POLICE CAR ON THE STREET
ITS LOUDSPEAKER BELLOWING
PREPARE TO EVACUATE

NEVER OUR BEST
AT FOUR IN THE MORNING
WE HASTILY DRESSED
PACKED A CHANGE OF CLOTHES
CAGED THE CAT
GATHERED WHAT WE THOUGHT
WERE IMPORTANT PAPERS

WE THOUGHT
WE’LL GO OUTSIDE THE FIRE AREA
AND HAVE BREAKFAST
SEE WHAT DEVELOPS

THE WIND CHANGED
THE THREAT WAS LIFTED
WE CAME BACK

WE WERE WARNED TO BE ALERT
THE WIND COULD CHANGE AGAIN

I WONDERED
ABOUT WHAT WE TOOK WITH US
EACH OTHER CERTAINLY
CHANGE OF CLOTHES
PRACTICALITY
THE CAT
EMOTIONALLY
PAPERS
WE THOUGHT
WERE NECESSARY
A COUNT ON ONE HAND
LIST OF THINGS
LIFE REDUCED TO A HANDFUL





A LESSON
WE SHOULD REMEMBER
AFTER THE FIRE HAS COOLED
AND WE START COLLECTING
THINGS AGAIN



FRANK A VOLLMER

The Shepherd (Psalm 23)




THE SHEPHERD LOOKED AT THE STARS
SO CLEAR IN THE AIR
SO BRIGHT IN THE NIGHT
HE LOST HIMSELF
IN THE WONDER OF A GOD
WHO COULD CREATE A UNIVERSE
SO GREAT
I WONDER IF HE TENDS IT
LIKE I DO MY SHEEP
DOES HE FUSS WHEN THEY ARE SICK
CRY WHEN THEY DIE
BE ANGRY WHEN THEY ARE LOST
HAPPY WHEN THEY ARE FOUND
THE SHEPHERD SAT
AND WATCHED THE STARS
CONTENT
KNOWING THAT GOD
WAS SHEPHERDING HIM

FRANK A VOLLMER

The Vine (John 15)




IN GENESIS
GOD GAVE MAN DOMINION
THAT IS OWNERSHIP
OVER THE EARTH

WE ALL KNOW THE SAD STORY
OF OUR DOMINION SHIP

OUR OWNERSHIP

THE BAD MANAGEMENT
CAUSED GOD TO LEAP FROM HEAVEN
TO DIE AND REDEEM US

WE WOULD THINK
THAT AFTER THAT
HE WOULD SAY
AFTER PAYING
SUCH A PRICE

I TAKE BACK
MY DOMINION SHIP
I TAKE BACK
MY OWNERSHIP

FROM NOW ON
YOU WILL BE MY SLAVES

IF HE DID THAT
IT WOULD BE UNDERSTANDABLE

IT'S WHAT WE WOULD DO
IF WE WERE GOD

BUT GOD SAYS
I DO NOT CALL YOU SERVANTS
BUT FRIENDS

AND THE ONLY CHAINS
I GIVE YOU

IS TO LOVE ONE ANOTHER

FOR YOU ARE ALL LINKED
ROOTS
STEMS
LEAVES
AND FRUIT
YET ONE VINE



WE HAVE BEEN GIVEN DOMINION
OVER THE WORLD
TO MAKE IT BETTER
THAN IT IS

WE ARE CALLED CHRISTIANS

FOLLOWING JESUS' WORDS
AND EXAMPLE

WE WOULD BE BETTER NAMED
LOVERS

MAY IT BE SO
AMEN


FRANK A VOLLMER

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Goats and Lambs


THE GOATS WERE BROUGHT INTO THE BARN

AFTER THEIR DAY IN THE FIELD

THEY COULDN’T STAND THE COLD

BUT THE SHEEP REMAINED OUTSIDE

WARM IN THEIR COAT

MILKING THE GOAT WAS WOMEN’S WORK

A DEBAUCHED WOMEN WAS CALLED A GOAT

THE GOATS WERE BLACK

THE SHEEP WOOL WHITE

THE GOATS WERE PROMISCUOUS

THEY SHARED THEIR MATES

THE SHEEP DID NOT

OUT OF ALL THIS FOLKLORE

JESUS SPUN A TALE

USING IMAGES THE PEOPLE UNDERSTOOD

HE STARTS BY SAYING

THE KING COMES IN GLORY

SO CRITICAL IN THE EAST

THE DEMAND FOR RESPECT

SO HE COMES IN GLORY

AND SITS ON THE GLORY THRONE

COMMANDING RESPECT

AS BEFITS A KING

AND TELLS A COMMON STORY

OF SEPARATING SHEEP FROM GOATS

SEPARATING THE GOOD

FROM THE INDIFFERENT


THEY WERE NOT COMPLETELY BAD

THE GOATS

THEY WERE INDIFFERENT

AND SAID TO THE SHEEP

WHO WERE CARING

AND HUDDLED TOGETHER FOR WARMTH

COME INTO THE KINGDOM

I HAVE PREPARED FOR YOU

AND I’LL SHALL BE YOUR SHEPHERD

FRANK A VOLLMER

Carcer




THE WORD CARCER IN LATIN

MEANS PRISON

TO INCARCERATE

MEANS

TO SEND TO PRISON


THE EARLY CHURCH

KNEW WELL

WHAT CARCER MEANT


EARLY ON THE PRISONS

COULD NOT KEEP THEM

CHAINS FELL OFF

DOORS WERE OPENED

THEY WALKED FREE


BUT LATER

CARCER MEANT

A DOORWAY

TO HEAVEN

IN FACT IT WAS A FATE

THAT MANY SOUGHT


TODAY

WE HAVE MANY

WHO WILL DIE FOR A CAUSE


WE SCOFF

FORGETTING

THAT THE CHURCH

IN ALL ITS FORMS

HAS MANY MARTYRS


SO WHERE

DOES IT END

HOW DO WE JUDGE

WHEN IT’S RIGHT

WHEN IT’S WRONG


TO PARAPHRASE PAUL

IF WHAT YOU DO

HAS NOT LOVE

THEN THE ACT

IS A CLANGING BELL

THAT IS OUT OF TUNE


BELIEFS

WHICH SHOULD

BETTER MAN

BELITTLE HIM


BETTER A WASTELAND

THEY THINK

THAN LET ANOTHER

SURVIVE


THE CHURCH

HAS A POOR TRACK RECORD

OF LETTING THE OTHER SURVIVE


IF WHAT WE DO

HASN’T GOT LOVE

MANY THINK

IT’S NAMBY-PAMBY


BUT TO LOVE ANOTHER

AT COST TO ONESELF


IS LIKE PETER

MEETING CHRIST ON THE ROAD

ASKING

QUO VADIS DOMINE


THE ANSWER

LED PETER

BACK TO ROME

TO DIE


FRANK A VOLLMER

I Have a Daughter


I HAVE A DAUGHTER

OF WHOM I AM EXTREMELY PROUD

WHEN IT WAS NOT POPULAR

OR FASHIONABLE



SHE SIDED WITH THE POOR

THE DISPOSSESSED

THE UNIMPORTANT



A WAR THAT WAS WRONG

DICTATORS

WHO WERE OUR FRIENDS

BUT NOT TO THEIR PEOPLE



GRAPE PICKERS

LETTUCE HARVESTERS

FARM WORKERS

MIGRANT LABOR

ANYTHING WHICH DEGRADED A MAN



CALLED A SAINT

IF SHE FED THE POOR

A COMMUNIST

IF SHE ASKED

WHY



THROUGH IT ALL SHE SANG

WE SHALL OVERCOME

THOUGH OFTEN IT SOUNDED

LIKE A LONELY VOICE

IN A LONELY PLACE



THOUGH THE BATTLE

IS FAR FROM OVER

WITH A BRIGHT DAWN COMING



WE CAN SAY

WE HAVE OVERCOME

AND WORK TO KEEP IT THAT WAY







FRANK A VOLLMER

The Talents


HIDE OR BURY YOUR TREASURE

THE RABBIS SAID

DON’T LET YOUR MONEY

BE TOO FAR FROM HAND


BUT JESUS COMES SAYING SPEND

AND HE DOESN’T MEAN MONEY

SO OFTEN GOOD PEOPLE

HOARD THEIR GOODNESS

SO THAT THEY’RE NO EARTHLY GOOD

AND CHURCHES HAVE NO PLACE FOR SINNERS


HE PRAISES THOSE

WHO WOULD EXPEND THEMSELVES

AND SCOLDS THE CAUTIOUS


THE TEN VIRGINS

SHOULD SHARE THE OIL

TILL ALL RUNS OUT

AND THE GOOD MAN SHOULD WORK

TILL DARKNESS OVERTAKES HIM

LIBERALLY GIVING HIMSELF AWAY

FRANK A VOLLMER

Plant A Tree


IN THE EARLY CHURCH

THE FEELING WAS

THAT CHRIST WAS COMING SOON

MARK SAYS


THIS GENERATION

WILL NOT PASS AWAY

UNTIL ALL THE THINGS

HAVE TAKEN PLACE


SO EITHER WE HAVE A BAD TRANSLATION

OR A BAD INTERPRETATION

BECAUSE

IT DIDN’T HAPPEN


WE HAVE PEOPLE

SEEING THE END OF THE WORLD

AT EVERY BEND OF THE ROAD

THEY SERVE A GOD WHO IS ANGRY

WHO DELIGHTS IN PUNISHMENT

A BOOGIE MAN FOR THE AGES


SUCH A GOD

I WOULD FIND IT HARD TO LOVE


BUT LET’S READ MARK AGAIN

THE MASTER IS GOING AWAY

HE LEAVES HIS SERVANTS IN CHARGE

HE SAYS IN EFFECT

MAKE ME PROUD

BE WORKING WHEN I COME BACK

THAT’S THE ADMONITION FOR END TIMES

BE WORKING WHEN I COME BACK


IT’S LIKE THE FOLK TALE ABOUT LUTHER

IF I KNEW THAT TOMORROW

WAS THE END OF THE WORLD

I WOULD PLANT AN APPLE TREE TODAY


THE KEY WORD

IS STAY AWAKE

AND WORKING


HE HAS LEFT US

IN CHARGE OF HIS KINGDOM

AND WE HAVE TREES TO PLANT


FRANK A VOLLMER

What Did You Go Out to See?


THE BAPTISM JESUS RECEIVED

WAS NOT THE SAME AS THAT BAPTISM

WE RECEIVED

WHEN MOST OF US WERE CHILDREN


BAPTISM WAS RESERVED IN THE JEWISH FAITH

FOR THOSE

NOT BORN JEWS

BUT CONVERTING

THOSE SINFUL PEOPLE

NOT BORN A JEW


THE JEW BELIEVED

THAT BEING A SON OF ABRAHAM

HE WAS ASSURED OF GOD'S SALVATION

AS LONG AS HE FOLLOWED THE LAW

HE WAS ASSURED OF GOD'S SALVATION

SO HE HAD NO NEED FOR RITUAL CLEANING


BUT THERE WAS A MOVEMENT IN JUDEA

IN JESUS TIME

THAT THE NATION HAD LOST THEIR PRIVILEGED STATUS

THE NATION HAD BEEN CONQUERED BY ROME


THE PEOPLE

WERE DESPERATELY WAITING

FOR THE MESSIAH

TO FREE THE LAND


THEY FELT THAT GOD WAS ANGRY WITH THEM

ANGRY WITH THEM BECAUSE OF THEIR LIFESTYLE


THEY FELT

THAT THERE WAS A NEED FOR A CHANGE

THAT THERE WAS A NEED FOR A CLEANSING

THAT THERE WAS A NEED FOR REPENTING


SO THERE WENT OUT INTO THE LAND

THOSE CALLING FOR CHANGE

SOME WERE CALLING FOR POLITICAL CHANGE

OTHERS LIKE JOHN THE BAPTIST AND THE ESSENES

WERE CALLING FOR MORAL CHANGE


AND THE SYMBOL OF THAT CHANGE

WAS THE WHOLE BODY PLUNGING

OF A PERSON INTO A LAKE OR RIVER


BUT THE CANDIDATE HAD FIRST TO STATE

HE WAS SORRY FOR HIS SINS

AND WOULD TRY TO AMEND HIS LIFE


JOHN'S MESSAGE OF REPENT

AND CHANGE YOUR LIFE

WAS BEARING FRUIT


MANY WERE FLOCKING TO JOHN

FOR REPENTANCE AND BAPTISM


UNDERLYING THIS MOVEMENT

WAS THE THOUGHT

THAT IF THEY CHANGED THEIR LIVES

THE MESSIAH WOULD COME


BUT THEY WANTED A POLITICAL MESSIAH

WHAT THEY WOULD GET


WAS A SERVANT


FRANK A VOLLMER

A Voice




THE DRY SOUNDS OF THE DESERT

THE CEASELESS BLOWING OF SAND

THE VOICE

OF ONE CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS

MAKE STRAIGHT THE PATH

LEVEL MOUNTAINS

AND FILL UP GAPS

THAT THE KING OF GLORY MAY COME IN

TO ESTABLISH HIS KINGDOM ANEW

HIS WAY WILL BE ROUGH ENOUGH

MAKE LEVEL HIS PATH

HIS WAY IS FRAUGHT WITH DANGER

SECURE HIS PATH

HIS ENEMIES MACHINE WILL CRUSH HIM

THROW YOURSELF BENEATH THE WHEELS

DO NOT LET THE APPEARANCE

OF THE MESSENGER

DETER YOU

THIS WILD MAN

WHO EATS LOCUSTS AND WILD HONEY

WHO WEARS CAMEL HAIR FOR A CLOAK

WHO WON’T LET US BE COMFORTABLE

DO NOT FIND FAULT WITH THE MESSENGER

HIS MESSAGE IS TRUE

TOO OFTEN WE FIND FAULT WITH THE MESSENGER

AND DO NOT FOLLOW

LIKE

KING

BERRIGAN

BONHOEFFER

IT’S TIME TO ADMIT

WE HAVE BEEN COMFORTABLE

NOT ROAD BUILDERS

BARRICADE BUILDERS

NOT ROAD BUILDERS

WALL BUILDERS

THAT IMPRISON

THOSE WHO BUILD THEM

AND WHEN THEY FALL

THE JACKAL HOWLS AT THE MOON

AND THERE IS NO ANSWER


FRANK A VOLLMER

Fear Not





IT WAS THE EVENING


A COOL BREEZE WAS BLOWING


WELCOME RELIEF FROM THE SUN



THE BIRDS


HAD SETTLED


FOR THE EVENING


PERCHING ON TREE AND HOUSE



SHE WAS FINISHING HER PRAYERS


WITH


MAY MESSIAH COME


WHEN SHE HEARD A SOUND


AS IF


A LATE ARRIVING BIRD HAD COME



SHE SAW AN ANGEL


SHE HEARD A VOICE


SAYING


GOD’S CONSTANT GREETING


BE NOT AFRAID



THE CHOICE WAS HERS


THE CHOICE IS OURS


TO LET GOD SWELL WITHIN US



WHEN WE SAY SON OF MAN


WE MEAN JUST LIKE HIS FATHER


WHEN WE SAY SON OF GOD


WE MEAN JUST LIKE HIS FATHER



GOD WAITED


LIKE AN ANXIOUS SUITOR


FOR A YES



GOD WAITS


LIKE AN ANXIOUS SUITOR


FOR US TO SAY YES


AND BE FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT




FRANK A VOLLMER

Friday, October 31, 2008

Coin




WHOSE IMAGE IS PRESSED UPON THE COIN

A MAN’S HE ANSWERS

HOW MUCH IS IT WORTH

THEY ARE ALL VALUED THE SAME

HOW CAN THAT BE

THEIR MAKER DETERMINES THEIR VALUE




GIVE TO CAESAR HIS DUE

BUT GIVE TO GOD FULL VALUE

ANYTHING WHICH DIMINISHES A MAN

IS WRONG

ANYTHING WHICH DEBASES THE COIN

IS WRONG

THE COIN’S IMAGE

IS AN ECHO OF GOD’S FACE



BUT WE ARE ALL THE IMPORTANT PEOPLE

THE REST OF THEM ARE RABBLE

YOU ARE ALL OF THE SAME VALUE

BUT…BUTBUT..BUTBUTBUT…

IS YOUR EYE JEALOUS

BECAUSE I AM GOOD

HOW DARE YOU CALL INFERIOR

WHAT I HAVE MADE

HOW DARE YOU

TRY TO CHEAPEN

ANOTHER’S COIN

IF YOU TRY

YOU ARE ONLY HOARDING DUST

AND YOUR WEALTH

IS ONLY SAND TRICKLING THROUGH YOUR FINGERS



FRANK A VOLLMER

Reformation





I’VE BEEN READING ABOUT THE REFORMATION



THE MORNING STARS THAT PRECEDED IT



LIKE HUS AND WYCLIFFE



ABOUT NOBLES WHO KEPT A HOUSE PRIEST

WHO AFTER DALLYING WITH THEIR MISTRESS

WOULD CONFESS

AND BE RIGHT AGAIN



ABOUT HOW MANY MOVEMENTS

BOTH WITHIN AND OUTSIDE THE CHURCH

CALLED FOR ITS RETURN

TO EARLY POVERTY



SO THAT CHURCH LIFE

MIGHT MORE CLOSELY RESEMBLE

PEOPLE’S LIFE



AND BE TAUGHT THEM IN A LANGUAGE

THEY COULD UNDERSTAND



BUT AFTER THE BREAK

ARE WE ANY BETTER



DO WE LOVE OUR NEIGHBOR

AS OURSELVES

IF HE IS DIFFERENT



IN FAITH

RACE

NATIONALITY



DO WE PREACH LOVE

AND PRACTICE HATRED



IF CHRIST CAME

WOULD WE KILL HIM FOR BEING A JEW



AS WE KILLED SIX MILLION CHRISTS



AND THE CHURCH WAS SILENT



MILLIONS OF AFRICANS

ARE DYING NOW

SO FEW CARE



WE’D RATHER INVADE A COUNTRY FOR OIL



BUT WHEN CHURCH AND STATE ARE JOINED

WE HAVE LUTHER BETRAYING THE PEASANTS



OR COUNSELING THE PRINCE

TO PRACTICE ADULTERY

QUIETLY



AND FINALLY

AGREEING TO DIVORCE



WHEN WE LOOK AT THE BROKEN LANDSCAPE

OF THE CHURCH



EACH ONE LOOKING AT THE SHATTERED SHARD

OF THE MIRROR



SAYING

THEIRS IS THE TRUE REFLECTION



HOW MANY FACES HAS THE TRUTH



BUT ALMOST FROM THE BEGINNING

WE’VE HAD DISSENSION



WE’VE HAD

PAUL VERSUS PETER

JEW VERSUS GENTILE

PURE VERSUS IMPURE FOOD



WOULD NOT A BETTER LITMUS TEST BE

NOT WHAT WE BELIEVE

BUT WHAT WE DO



DOES KNOWING THE HYPOSTATIC UNION

MAKE ONE HOLY

IS IT NOT BETTER

TO LIVE THE WORD





AND WHAT IS THAT WORD

WRITTEN ON OUR HEARTS



LOVE GOD

LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR

THE REST IS COMMENTARY

FRANK A VOLLMER


For more poetry see our blog at http://camploony.blogspot.com/.

All Saints ((1 Corinthians 12) )




WHEN I WAS IN JAPAN
THERE WAS A WEEK LONG FESTIVAL IN AUGUST
CALLED OBON

WHICH IS A FESTIVAL FOR THE DEAD

DURING THAT TIME
THE JAPANESE BELIEVED THE DEAD CAME BACK
TO VISIT THEIR FAMILIES

THERE WERE PLACES SET AT THE TABLE FOR THEM.

EACH NIGHT THERE WERE BONFIRES LIT

AND EVERYONE WHO LIVED IN THE VILLAGE
DANCED AROUND THEM
BUT IT WAS A SPECIAL DANCE

BECAUSE THE STEPS RESEMBLED THE MOTIONS
PEOPLE MADE WHILE WORKING

SO THERE WERE MOTIONS FOR FISHING
OR DIGGING OR SEWING OR COOKING

THESE MOTIONS IMITATED THE LIVES OF THE DEAD
WHEN THEY WERE LIVING

I LEARNED THE DANCES.
AND MY JAPANESE FRIENDS AND I
WOULD DANCE THE NIGHT AWAY

THEY WERE HAPPY THAT I WAS WITH THEM

BUT MORE ESPECIALLY THEY WERE HAPPY
THAT THEIR BELOVED DEAD WERE VISITING THEM


AT THE END OF OBON
CANDLES WERE PLACED ON TINY RAFTS
AND FLOATED OUT TO SEA

THEY WERE TO SHOW THE DEAD
BACK TO THEIR RESTING PLACE

IT WAS A TENDER BEAUTIFUL MOMENT

TO FEEL THEIR LOVE
FOR THEIR ANCESTORS

AND TO SEE THE THOUSANDS OF CANDLES
MAKING THE RIVER A GOLDEN PATH

ANY READER
OF NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC
KNOWS THAT FESTIVALS OF THE DEAD
ARE COMMON TO ALL CULTURES.

MANY OF THE FESTIVALS ARE KIND AND GENTLE
AS IN JAPAN
THE DEAD ARE NOT FEARED.
IN OTHER CULTURES
THE DEAD ARE THE GHOSTS
THE GOBLINS THE WITCHES
THE THINGS TO BE FEARED IN THE NIGHT

IN EUROPE
AS THE PAGANS THAT LIVED THERE
WERE CONVERTED TO CHRISTIANITY
THEY BROUGHT WITH THEM
THIS FEAR OF THE DEAD

THE CHURCH TO COUNTERACT THIS FEAR
INITIATED THE FEAST OF ALL SAINTS
FOR NO ONE WHO HAS DIED IN CHRIST
SHOULD BE FEARED


THERE ALSO EVOLVED
THE CONCEPT
OF THE COMMUNION OF SAINTS
WHICH IS PART OF THE CREED
WE SAY ON SUNDAYS
SIMPLY PUT
THE COMMUNION OF SAINTS MEANS
THAT ALL PEOPLE SAVED BY CHRIST'S BLOOD
BELONG TO ONE BODY.



THOSE WHO REST IN HIS BOSOM
AND THOSE OF US
WHO ARE STILL PILGRIMS ON THE WAY

THE LIVING AND THE DEAD
ARE ONE BODY
ONE COMMUNION,
ONE COMMUNITY

REMNANTS OF FEAR OF THE DEAD
LINGER IN THE COSTUMES WE WEAR
ON HALLOWEEN
GHOSTS GOBLINS SATAN

HALLOWEEN MEANS ALL HALLOW'S EVE
OR THE NIGHT BEFORE ALL HALLOWS DAY

HALLOWED AS IN THE LORDS PRAYER
MEANS BLESSED
.
SO ANOTHER NAME
FOR THIS FEAST DAY
WOULD BE
ALL THE BLESSED ONE'S DAY

AND WHO ARE THESE BLESSED ONES.
THEY ARE OUR PARENTS
GRANDPARENTS, FRIENDS, RELATIVES,
SPOUSES,
SOMETIMES SADLY OUR CHILDREN


THEY ARE RULERS OF THE WORLD
THEY ARE THE POOR.
THEY ARE THE BRIGHT
THEY ARE THE ILLITERATE.
THEY ARE THE BOLD
THE BASHFUL
THE SAINT OCCASIONALLY
BUT MOST OFTEN THE SINNER
BUT THEY ARE ALL JOINED NOW
AND HELD SAFELY IN GOD'S HAND

THEY ARE YOU
AND I
WHEN OUR PILGRIMAGE ENDS

BUT BEFORE OUR PILGRIMAGE ENDS
WE MUST LIVE OUR LIFE.
WALK THE ROAD BEFORE US
IN SUNNY OR RAINY WEATHER,
ON FLAT GROUND OR UP A MOUNTAIN
OR EVEN DOWN INTO A DEEP VALLEY.

HOPEFULLY WE WILL WALK WITH FRIENDS
OR LOVED ONES

BUT EVEN WHEN WE WALK ALONE
THERE WILL BE TWO SETS OF FOOTPRINTS
BECAUSE JESUS IS WALKING THE ROAD WITH US,

AND JESUS GAVE US A CODE OF CONDUCT
FOR THAT ROAD
THEY ARE CALLED THE BEATITUDES.


AND THEY ARE

HOW HAPPY ARE THE POOR IN SPIRIT
THE POOR IN SPIRIT
THOSE WHO DO NOT CRAVE
MONEY
POSSESSIONS
POWER
BUT USE
WHAT GOD HAS GIVEN THEM
GENEROUSLY

JESUS SAYS
HAPPY ARE THE POOR IN SPIRIT,
THEIRS IS THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN

HAPPY THE GENTLE
THEY SHALL HAVE THE EARTH
FOR THEIR HERITAGE

HAPPY
THOSE WHO MOURN
THEY SHALL BE COMFORTED



HAPPY THOSE WHO HUNGER
AND THIRST FOR WHAT IS RIGHT
THEY SHALL BE SATISFIED

HAPPY THE MERCIFUL
THEY SHALL HAVE MERCY SHOWN THEM

HAPPY THE PURE IN HEART
THEY SHALL SEE GOD

HAPPY THE PEACEMAKERS
THEY SHALL BE CALLED
CHILDREN OF GOD

HAPPY THOSE WHO ARE PERSECUTED
IN THE CAUSE OF RIGHT
THEIRS IS THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN

IN THIS SEASON
THE SEASON OF AUTUMN
AS THE DAYS GROW SHORTER
AS THE COLORS OF THE TREES
GO FROM GOLD TO BROWN TO BARE
AND THE WIND HAS A BITE TO IT
THAT GOES THROUGH US,
WE ARE REMINDED
OF THE FINALITY OF OUR LIVES


IN THIS SEASON
THE SEASON OF AUTUMN
WE ARE ALSO ASKED
TO REMEMBER OUR DEAD

IN THE TV. SHOW "ARCHIE BUNKER"
AFTER EDITH HIS WIFE DIED,
AFTER THE FUNERAL
ARCHIE SPIES HER SLIPPER
UNDER THEIR BED AND HE CRIES
I DIDN'T HAVE TIME TO SAY GOODBYE





.
WE ARE GIVEN THAT OPPORTUNITY THIS DAY
TO DO THAT
TO SAY WE ARE GRATEFUL
FOR THE LOVE THEY GAVE US
FOR THE EXAMPLE THEY GAVE US
FOR THE LAUGHTER AND THE TEARS
THEY GAVE US.

NOT THAT THEY NEED TO HEAR IT.
THERE IS NO PAIN WHERE THEY ARE.
BUT WE
NEED TO SAY IT.

THANK YOU
FOR ALL YOU MEANT TO ME.
THANK YOU
FOR ALL YOU MEAN TO ME.
MAY I BE WORTHY OF YOUR LOVE.

AND IF THERE SHOULD BE SOMEONE
WITH WHOM
THERE WERE ANGRY WORDS
NEVER CALLED BACK
NOW IS THE TIME
FOR FORGIVENESS
AGAIN NOT THAT THE DEAD NEED IT
BUT WE NEED IT.



WE NEED TO SEND FORGIVENESS
IT WILL GO FROM US
LIKE A CANDLE
ON A RIVER
MAKING THE RIVER GOLD.

FINALLY
THERE IS IN MOST OF OUR LIVES
THOSE PEOPLE WHO HAVE DIED
HAVING LIVED A LIFE
THAT WE FEEL
COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER
AND THAT THOUGHT
LIES UNEASY
ON OUR HEARTS

LET US REMEMBER
THAT GOD'S LOVE AND MERCY
IS FAR GREATER
THAN OUR ABILITY
TO COMPREHEND IT

ON THIS AUTUMN DAY
CLOSE TO WINTER
MAY GOD'S LOVE
KEEP US WARM.



AMEN

FRANK A VOLLMER