The Smallest Commandment

After the expert in the Law was sufficiently
schooled and the tight-sphinctered Pharisees
had had all they could stomach for a day,
a young woman came to Jesus in the late afternoon.
At first he was taken by her bold approach.
Then he divined that was actually a face
she had long learned to wear to survive.
He smiled. And his heart melted for her for he
could see that, unlike his earlier audience, 
her eyes were not matted with guile.
 
Teacher, what is the smallest commandment?
 
In the time it took for the meaty God to catch his
breath, somewhere a quilt of lilies refused to spin.
Jesus answered her, softly and tenderly off-script:
To be beautiful briefly to yourself.
 
 
 

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13 Comments

  1. pastordt on August 2, 2016 at 4:21 pm

    Lovely, lovely, LOVELY. Thank you.

  2. Samantha on August 2, 2016 at 5:44 pm

    You moved me to tears… I read it over and over, each time taking a deep breath in between blinking through water and whispering…. “whew”

    • thebeautifuldue on August 4, 2016 at 1:16 am

      That’s always the hope, Samantha, that the words are moving. Thank you!

  3. Samantha on August 2, 2016 at 5:58 pm

    Words have become so common, so predictable, language so over-used, so stupidly simplified. But you… you use words that make us taste and chew and swallow and digest. Your gift is great.

    • La Vonne on August 3, 2016 at 4:05 pm

      Beautifully put, Samantha! WOW!

  4. patriciaspreng on August 3, 2016 at 4:12 am

    Thank you, John.

  5. ittraininginstituteahmedabad on August 3, 2016 at 8:46 am

    No words to say about this poem…great

  6. Simply Darlene on August 4, 2016 at 3:48 pm

    Briefly – a starting
    For continual tender
    Accepted, given.

  7. paula jones on August 8, 2016 at 2:23 pm

    I will be going into Tutwiler Prison next month for 3 days on a Kairos Weekend. When I address the ladies there, I will be talking about grace. I will definitely be sharing this poem with them. Thank you.

    • thebeautifuldue on August 9, 2016 at 4:27 pm

      I’d love to hear their reactions/responses, Paula. Thanks!

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