Sunday, August 30, 2009

The telltale limp of the faithful

I read a reflection this afternoon, written by someone I've never met. I was really struck by his line "the telltale limp of the faithful." The new song lyric by that title (music isn't finished, but imagine sort of a driving, bluesy mood) is about three minutes old. This Bible story has a lot of resonance for me; I wrote a poem about it last year, and here it is again, in another form:

Just step right up, the carny man said,

I can show you all the face of God.

For a spectacle that dazzles you and fills you with elation

you just need a small donation and a pious inclination--

I can show you all the face of God.


Come right on down, the TV preacher said,

I can show you all the face of God.

For just fifty on your Visa and the contents of your head

you never need to wonder what the Bible really said--

I can show you all the face of God.


Be careful what you use to build an altar;

be sure to question everything you think you know.

The telltale limp of the faithful

is what it’s going to cost you for the face of God to show.

You’ll be changed; it isn’t cheap

but you might find a peace so deep

that you can sleep now on a pillow made of stone.


Get going through the desert, the Holy One said,

if you want to see the face of God.

You have to struggle and you'll fight, wrestle angels through the night,

but when you stumble in that darkness, I'll be glad to give you light--

only I can show the face of God.


Be careful what you use to build an altar;

be sure to question everything you think you know.

The telltale limp of the faithful

is what it’s going to cost you for the face of God to show.

You’ll be changed; it isn’t cheap

but you might find a peace so deep

that you can sleep now on a pillow made of stone.


It’s a hard old world, my mama said,

when you’re looking for the face of God.

Be careful what you pray for, ‘cause you’re never gonna know

if it’s truth that you are seeing or a circus or a show--

where will you go to find the face of God?


Where will you go to find the face of God?

4 comments:

John Goodman said...

Nice!!!

Cecilia said...

Choralgirl, this is just beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing it. Can you post an mp3 or 4 when you flesh out the melody?

Rachel said...

Love this. Really really love it.

Diane said...

beautiful...