Selected by Dan Clendenin

Walter Brueggemann (b. 1933)

The Noise of Politics

We watch as the jets fly in
with the power people and
the money people,
the suits, the budgets, the billions.

We wonder about monetary policy
because we are among the haves,
and about generosity
because we care about the have-nots.

By slower modes we notice
Lazarus and the poor arriving from Africa,
and the beggars from Central Europe, and
the throng of environmentalists
with their vision of butterflies and oil
of flowers and tanks
of growing things and killing fields.

We wonder about peace and war,
about ecology and development,
about hope and entitlement.

We listen beyond jeering protesters and
soaring jets and
faintly we hear the mumbling of the crucified one,
something about
feeding the hungry
and giving drink to the thirsty,
about clothing the naked,
and noticing the prisoners,
more about the least and about holiness among them.
We are moved by the mumbles of the gospel,
even while we are tenured in our privilege.

We are half ready to join the choir of hope,
half afraid things might change,
and in a third half of our faith turning to you,
and your outpouring love
that works justice and
that binds us each and all to one another.

So we pray amidst jeering protesters
and soaring jets.
Come by here and make new,
even at some risk to our entitlements.

For over thirty years now, Walter Brueggemann (b. 1933) has combined the best of critical scholarship with love for the local church in service to the kingdom of God. Now a professor emeritus of Old Testament studies at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia, Brueggemann has authored over seventy books. Taken from his Prayers for a Privileged People (Nashville: Abingdon, 2008), pp. 21–22.

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