The Poetry of Politics

There will be losers.

There will be winners.

Pray we don’t live as either.

Pray we live otherwise,

By a greater light –

Prose yields to poetry,

The human heart emerges.

Look! Over the long horizon,

Bending toward us,

The community of the beloved,

Home for us all.

As I was preparing last Sunday’s sermon, I thought of so many life-giving conversations I have had over my time as a pastor that were political in nature. When the political conversations were about the horse race, who was going to win or who was going to lose, or whose tribe was superior, they were definitely not life-giving, for any of us. But when, by God’s grace, the conversation slips from the prosaic to the poetic, when it moves to the level of the heart, when we speak of our loves and longings for our common life, of what we are hungering and thirsting for, then it is as if a horizon opens, and we stand on solid and common ground, and the beloved community Dr. King spoke of becomes a possibility, our ultimate home, a foretaste of the realm of God. In thinking about those deeper conversations emerging from our shared longing, the lines above came to me. I share them here with a prayer that we all of us, regardless of how this day ends, will allow the poetry to have its way, and that we may emerge more unified, more closely approximating the beloved community. Because Dr. King was right, “We must live together as brothers (and sisters) or perish together as fools.”


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