What do you get for the God who has everything?
Perhaps a sheep, or some gold,
A flask of incense or some burial spices?
If not, there is a certain sentimental strain in all of us
That thinks that drummer boys have it right:
Just do your best and He will smile from the arms of His mother
What can I give Him?
I’ll give Him my heart.
Do you consider that something to give Him?
As poor and black and rotten as it is?
No, that will never do,
Trying to make a body for Him
From all these silly, little bits and pieces
Life and memories and interstices
We’ve forgotten more of our sins than we’ve ever wanted forgiven
No, sacrifices and offerings and worship are all so much dust
The little piles of rocks and sand that we’ve long mistaken for gold and precious things
The God who has everything does not want your best, your most talented, your perfect compositions
Your tap-tap-tapping on your little broken drum
He has a thousand thousand of them already
He has a billion sheep on a thousand hills and more
Dozens of dancing lords, and gaggles of geese a-laying, and multitudes upon multitudes of angels
Hiding their burning eyes behind burnished six-wings
Six strings, six shots,
Six circles of hell! He has golden rings coming out His ears
What does He want with another?
The God who has everything lacked only a single thing
And He had to make it for Himself, in that little backyard shop in Nazareth
A body–only this, this alone, has not existed for all eternity, before eternity, when
there was no before or after or eternity at all
–Actually, two things, now that I think of it
The body, yes, but also the only other thing you have that He does not
Sin; all of it, He wants it all
Those eyes, the lusting ones
Those words, the kind with gossip spit all over them
Those hands (He has a ball with empty boxes)
Those colds, and cancers, and colonoscopies
Even your death (now that’s something He can use!)
And, okay, yes, even your heart–He has a nice collection of dead things
He’s buying it all for His only Son
Who never had a proper Christmas
And so the God who has everything gave up on broken wills and promises,
Covenants that only hold enough water for dumping into the shallow end of the Jordan
After all those thousands of years
He does not will any of it:
No pleasure, no happiness, not Infants smiling at the best and brightest
Of the dimmest
And worse than the most blasphemous piece of cloth Isaiah could imagine
His will–only this, this alone, is to give Himself something He never had, and then give it to you
You will not build a house for Him; what need has He of houses?
You will not give a heart to Him; what need has He of hearts?
The Lord God made them all, hearts and houses alike
So He will make you a house, O David
He will give you a heart, O Ezekiel
He will make a body for Himself
And then the single offering He wills,
All the blood and all the sin and all your hearts and all your houses
Burned to the ground once for all
Not because He hates you
(Though it can feel a little like that)
But because He hates the little you love and the little you want to have, thinking it is all the world
He hates the death you want to keep for life
He hates the little, petty idols you want to put on His altar
He doesn’t want the bodies you think are humming along in perfect health,
Surprised to find they will not run forever
Though you know it better than you know anything else in this whole shit-faced world
O David, O Jacob, He hates it all
Because you want to put it where it does not belong
You want to block out the sun with your hand
And hold back hell with your foot
And then you want to buy with your bad forgeries something for the God who has everything
He has bought it all already, you and this and that and all of it are His
Stop, just stop–it is all too much and all too little
–By the way, He got you something
You, the man who has nothing
A body and some blood
He is laughing like your father, when he’s had just enough wine
Putting the plate right in front of your face,
To make sure you’ve caught the scent
Slopping the cup all over your lips:
Drink, drink, drink!
Eat up, why are you so timid? So halting? Timorous and diffident?
Forget your self, it’s worth as much as your heart
Here, try this, best I ever made