And the prophets will rise.
No soothsayers, palm readers–their life-lines
and sea-roads charted straight to Tarshish,
falling off the edge of the world.
No fortune tellers–their foggy crystal ball.
No necromancers. We wait
for the troubled ones, those to whom
God sends songs in the night (Job 35:10),
dreams and visions, the Word
God spoke in the beginning,
the Word still available,
whispered in the ear (Job 33: 15-17)
of Elihu “filled with words, / choked by
the rush of them within” (Job 32: 18),
the ear of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Amos,
even pouting Jonah, indignant at God
for not fire-and-brimstone-ing Nineveh,
turning tender, compassionate
toward the great city of more than
“a hundred and twenty thousand people
who cannot tell their right hand from their left,
to say nothing of all the animals” (Jonah 4:11).
We wait for God’s creatures great and small,
a little child leading them (Isaiah 11:6).
O prophets of Truth, teach us to wait
for the child, hear again those glad songs
ringing out at dead of night (Job 35:10),
louder than the din of a wagging tongue,
reverberating gong, clanging cymbal
(First Corinthians 13:1-2).
We call for a servant-leader:
“The greatest among you
must be your servant.
Anyone who exalts himself
will be humbled, and anyone
who humbles himself
will be exalted”
“After shadow and darkness,
the eyes of the blind will see”
After the time of Coronavirus,
COVID-19, after the time of
the breathless Displaced,
the Innocents silenced by
persons fearing words
after our time of shadow and darkness,
the sick-bed of bones trembling
with palsy, the soul drawing near
to the pit, dwelling of the dead
(Job 33:19-22), an Angel
will appear at our side, a Mediator
to remind us where our duty lies
(Job 33:23), calling us to rise
and walk, in spite of the ache,
rise like the day, unafraid:
“All we need, all we need is hope
And for that we have each other
And for that we have each other”
(Andra Day, Rise Up).
- All biblical passages are taken from The Jerusalem Bible, Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1966.
- *Rise Up, recorded by Andra Day, written by Cassandra Monique Batie / Jennifer Decilveo, lyrics © BMG Rights Management. YouTube video, May 9, 2016.