65. Quo Vadis

Merla Watson

“Quo Vadis?” is Latin for, “Where are you going?” Merla Watson is a professional musician who is concerned to lead the Body of Messiah into true worship. Here we include three poems from a booklet of poems which highlight the influences on worship in the contemporary Church. They are reprinted with the permission of Catacombs Productions, Box 2376, Abbots ford, BC V2T 4X3, Canada.


Sonorous tones
From chaliced lips!
Sweet fantasia
of pristine praise!
Careful cadence!
Premeditated entrance –
Lofty! (Ashteroth pleased!)
And loftier still
The jewelled windows –
Tell what seems legend –
Of ancient unrelated miracles
The faces distorted
Unattached and poised –
Portray for casual glancer
A disconnected abstract faith.
Hush now!
Lest the robust personal laugh of
And Tickled ribs of prophets –
Swift and dutiful
The silken swish of priestly garb
Merely dusts the hunger
Of congregant shoe.
(Again the crisp of page anew
Or flutter
Of flustered confusion!)
The candles ignite
By some Nimrodic ghost.
We sit, we stand
Approximate the note
Vague incantations.
Then quickly –
Gratefully –
It is over!
And out we file
A faceless few
And offer untouched palm
And we are received by
Ivory smile, and again
The poor sent hungry away!


Extended –
Oft pretended –
What imitative sentiment!
What gross flippancy!
What exalted trivia!
Vain attempt
To herald our King.
This is the end
Of our hot pursuit??
So near to the truth
But bypassed
And far from intended.

Gird go the loins!
Declared WAR!
Ready! Steady!
Face the foe
And smack him one
He deserves our thunder
Yell at him
(You’re used to that
Because that’s how
You ask favours
From Abba!)
On with it!
Pull his hair
And knock his teeth right out
Send him reeling
Sprawling on the floor
There – it’s done.

Sweet Jesus?!
With one word
Of quiet authority
You, my Lord
Stilled the waves,
Called out demons
Yea! Even spun out the universe
And I don’t see any record
That you pushed Tabitha
Out of bed
Or shamed Mary Magdalene
to belief.
O Grandmother!
What big ears you have!
O Church!
They’re itchy too!
And why the greedy hand?
Is His grace not sufficient?
What new thing have we got here?
Loud and clear!

O to revel in the mellowed wine
Of praise from humbled hearts.
A fresh glimpse, please
At wondrous mercy
Silencing us to tears.
As we merit not one sideglance
From You.
Forgive us Lord
We’ve fought Your battles
Sometimes You’ve humoured our
But most often You stepped aside
Watching our bunglings
And we felt such sting!


You who have touched
Yet sadly missed
The holy of holies,
Who have wailed
Thru centuries of pain,
Beneath your shawl of covenant
Lies smothered
A secret for all.
Why do you selfishly clutch
The one leading home?
For I too have wept
Such tears of glory
At times
When your sons would barely
Breathe God’s Name
So holy is He!
I’ve frozen in wonder
When through the velvet
Cherished torah grasped
I heard the manly human harmony
Of muscular worship
Yet sweet.
O Gregory
Pope Gregory!
It was you who stumbled
Casting a spell on us
You and saintly Constantine!
Ignatius too joined in
You clipped our grafted roots
Denying our bond
With chosen Jew.
What blow to us you’ve dealt!
You twisted and
Removed God’s Word
Scourging those
Who identified.
While lonely remnant
Salvaged each precious Script
Like jewels
From, a dung heap.

My heart stops twice
Choking on revelation,
While cantor brocades
Bleeding the angst
Thought only theirs.

But I too feel it
And crave to be joined
Our God is one.
Yet how can I blend – knowing
Whom I know?
Sing on you festivals
Your boisterous praise
Carry your sheaves of harvest
And Shabbat
The true one rest in seven
As soul renovation.
Return, return
My ravenous heart
Till every bone
Oiled with satisfaction
Till my sights raised higher
And my heels still sunk in earth
Fulfilled – I hail the King!

(Reprinted from Tishrei Vol 4 No 1, Humanism, Winter 1995)



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