ventura riverThe prose and poetry have been pouring out of the Ventura River Watershed over the past two weeks since the conclusion of the Festival of Radical Discipleship. This is from Ted Lewis, a restorative justice practitioner in Duluth, MN.

When it was done we all descended
down the Ojai valley mountaintop
with Moses-glow glory on our faces
and the ring of Miriam’s tambourine
lingering for days on end in our ears.
We were all transfigured by the clean
bleach-bright brilliance of speakers,
artists, musicians, dancers, activists,
everyone a figure in a rainbow festival
of faith-filled figures, old and young,
veteran and new, dead and alive,
a Galilean carnival of incarnate joy.

Where ash crosses had been before,
we left the camp with Gilead balm
still oil-moist on our Lenten foreheads,
but the phosphorescent radiance
was fading fast and we soon felt
the powerlessness of our solo prayers
to overcome those familiar epileptic fits
of oppression in our daily surroundings;
and yet with springtime Spirit-impetus
we have stretched out our hands
to touch anew the moving hem of him
who heals heart, water and land.

We all walk with the same questions:
What now will we do with the unbound
strong man within our wounded selves?
What now will God do with the unrolled
stones lodged within our dying world?
And how might we walk more together?
Meanwhile we join the water flowing
southward into the Jordan watershed,
following the movement downward,
revisiting our baptismal waterholes
before moving back up in the world
to Jerusalem’s temple mountain.

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