on these smooth and broad gentile plains
my brain ached and remembered a room
in a familiar, strange and restless city
where as a young man I was gently led
like a sheep to the fold.
There I was but not alone,
really there were twelve of us
each one timid, fearful and unaware
only silently listening to what He said.
Silently after a little while
we broke bread and ate because we were hungry
and needed food; and we tasted the wine
which was so bitter and also so strangely sweet
that in our thirst we remembered the prophets:
what they had yearned for and,
how easily in our midst we beheld that.
This much of theology I understood
that is, how much ever I saw
not only because it was so tangible and real
but even so because I could fathom it
in my mind and rationalise its implications
but there was something else that happened
which I was not prepared for,
something which made me curiously baffled,
speechless and completely out of ease,
something which, for a moment at least,
forced me into a sudden indecision
that now on reflection I ask myself,
"Why was I hasty to have my feet washed?"
But time has inflicted a better cure
and whenever afterwards I remembered that night
always a new thought strikes me,
a new wisdom speaks to me; as if it was
God himself talking to me and telling me,
how much of myself I have to give Him;
how much of all that I cherish I have to sacrifice
and how much more I have to lean on Him
to cleanse me and my feet
as I walk reluctantly in these chains
on these smooth and broad Gentile plains
to my inevitable death and obvious glory.