Testament

NelsonBy Bill Wylie-Kellermann

For Nelson Johnson, upon retirement, April 28, 2018

some there are,
I can name the few,
whom I would follow without pause anywhere.
one or two are in the house.

call them old souls
converts of fire
prophets or beloved disciples
our voice of the ancestors
these speakers of Word in the flesh

I’ve been schooled to weep
by a message on the name of Jesus.
how? by cadence or content?
harmonics of pure lived authority?
howsoever, my knee bows.

St Paul attests,
Let us rejoice in our sufferings,
knowing that suffering produces endurance,
endurance character, character hope,
and hope does not disappoint:
God’s love has been poured into our hearts.

they walk among gravestones
hold fast to memory
and wonder, what if the history of suffering
is a great store of transformation awaiting release?

perhaps they held in arms or heart a beloved comrade
while life bled out as seed to soil.
truth in pieta.

from such vilified embrace
Jesus rises with a vengeance of reconciliation.
now is known why he was killed.
he goes before us.

and the mentored step up.
Buber: imagine the real world. imagine and believe.

a marriage, a house, a faith community are its sign.
a movement rolling down like waters. love poured out.

lead on, dear friend, lead on.

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