God As We Understand

Davide Cantelli

“Which is the way
to the home of the light,
and where does darkness live?”
(Job 38:19, The Jerusalem Bible)

My friend Charles is attaining serenity,*
having accepted the day, its night
he cannot change–the weary E. R. physician
who tested the smear of blood on the toe
of my friend’s young wife and said sorry,
don’t waste the next thirty days
. My friend

kind and wise who steps out the door
of City Light Community Ministries
to lift the woman fallen beneath her life’s
burdens, grocery sacks of belongings
bending her back, her eyes
locked on the pavement. My friend

Intricate Explorer

whose loud, church-bell laugh
ministers to me how we must believe
in a Power greater than ourselves
(Step 2 toward recovery), that Power
being the God my friend understands (Step 3),
the God who became human, one of us,
tempted in the wilderness my friend knows well,

Vincent Chin

now placing his hand upon my shoulder
and, in his laugh I swear I hear him say,
“Be healed,” carrying his message (Step 12)
to those whose lives have become unmanageable,
his story, his personal, fearless moral inventory
(Step 4), Reinhold Niebuhr’s Prayer For Serenity,
accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,

Dulcey Lima

God from the heart of the tempest,
God the creator, the Word
that spoke–“Let There Be”–
the earth’s foundations, its cornerstone,
guiding the morning star, season by season,
its way to the home of the light,
all the stars of the morning singing with joy,

Pawel Nolbert

God making glad songs ring out at dead of night
by dreams and visions filling Charles
with words rushing from the heart
like new wine seeking a vent, the inspiration,
the breath, the spirit of Jesus-God,
the shepherd-God who goes in search of
the one lost lamb out of 100 in the flock,

Intricate Explorer

who teaches loving our neighbor as ourselves
and forgiving over and over even to
70 x 7 times and beyond, the self-sacrificing
Jesus who admonishes all in need
to take Step 7 and humbly ask him
to remove our shortcomings and, Steps 8
and 9, make direct amends whenever possible
to all persons we have harmed.

Debby Hudson

Charles knows my God is still Yahweh-God
of Elihu and Job, Old-Testament God
who humiliates the haughty at a glance,
casting one look at the proud,
bringing them low, silent-faced
in the hidden place where the Shades
have no tongue. Yahweh-God, who

Intricate Explorer

“accords justice to the poor,
and upholds the good man’s rights.
When he raises kings to thrones,
if they grow proud of their unending sway,
then he fetters them with chains,
binding them in the bondage of distress.
He shows them all that they have done,
and all the sins of pride they have committed.”
(Job 36: 6-9)

So Charles offers me Step 11,
his spiritual awakening–prayer and meditation
to improve my conscious contact with God
as I understand, praying only for knowledge
of God’s will for me and the power to carry it out.
I tell him thanks, and mean it, but I know
where darkness lives, so now, serenity,
for me, remains provisional.

Will Stewart

* Sources quoted and paraphrased:

  1. The 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous: https://www.alcohol.org/alcoholics-anonymous/
  2. Reinhold Niebuhr’s Prayer For Serenity: https://www.celebraterecovery.com/resources/cr-tools/serenityprayer
  3. Biblical passages from The Jerusalem Bible, Doubleday & Company, 1966:
    Genesis 1
    John 1
    Job 32-40
Gary Meulemans