sheep and goats, meat and drink

Valerie Jean

PC: Valerie Jean (Detroit, MI)

by jim perkinson (St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, Detroit, 11-26-17)

the sheep and the goats
the goats and the sheep
the left
the right
the day
the night

nothing here about church
but the good fundies all say
you must believe with your heart
have the word on your lips
insist jesus is lord
or you will have no part

and good catholics reply
just confess to the priest
take a trip around the beads
drink the cup, obey the pope
do the deeds

but good lutherans correct
you are both
sinner and graced
just trust the gift
no matter the works

while the prebys opine
look hard for the sign
double predestined
hopelessly depraved
just scrabble like a worm
go to church, behave

and holy ghost rockers
speaking in tongues in the pews
look for spirit-gift evidence
warn against demons and jews

but the parable of the end
has no formula to grind
it’s as simple as a drink
or shoes for the poor
no matter you’re blind
don’t do it for jesus
just respond to the need
honor your kind

the sheep and the goats
the goats and the sheep
the left
the right
the day
the night

it doesn’t matter
it’s not about magic
it’s not about conjure
the name doesn’t save you
if the bread isn’t offered
the goats give their milk
the sheep give their fleece
the poor give their laughter
and preside at the door

when did we see you?
when did we see you?
when did we see you?
when did we see you?

i am the wise shepherd
i am the wild sheep
i learn from the goats
i learn from the meek
the vine is my body
the bush is my face
don’t think you can lock
my name in a book
i am the harsh storm
i am the soft rain
i am the high mountain
i am the deep pain
i am the dove
over the river
the land under foot
the nomads all knew
that’s why i took up
the crook
abraham walked out
from haran at my call
and moses climbed up
straight into my squall
the sheep and the goats
are all in my fold
but i wonder about you
what will be told?
it’s a riddle you see
not a weapon to wield
a parable to be wrestled
a life to be freed

the sheep and the goats
the goats and the sheep
the left
the right
the day
the night
don’t bleat
don’t fret
don’t seek for hard might
share food with the needy
and clothes with the cold
and visit the sick
and those locked in the hold
give drink in detroit
give drink at the strait
your destiny is water
just free up the flow
your fate is the water
just let it go.

the sheep and the goats
the goats and the sheep
your gift is the water
just let it all flow.

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