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Knock

Reverend JoAnn speaks:“If you were born into an old tradition,
you were born into it for a reason.
You can not simply throw away the old.”

I scribble her words on the pastel program
of prayers, song lyrics, and invocations:

“The old…”
And I behold where her mission grew,
to celebrate ancient rituals
of parents, natives, and predecessors.

“Throw away…”
And a veil slips
from my Lutheran catechism,
crumbling a white velvet chapel
inhabited by miserable sinner chants.

“If you were born into an old tradition,” I mumble
and list the things I will honor or discard…
winter holidays, good deeds, penitence,
forgiveness, Jesus hymns, Christmas carols,
thanksgiving, communion,
love.

“You were born into it for a reason.”
She acknowledges.
And, I thank her
for the image I conjure
of my hand in Luther’s nailing arguments
to the stolid, wooden door.

For me, there are poems,
and no churches.
Yet, still, a tradition of
God and thoughtful rebellion.

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