Tuesday, May 17, 2011


a liturgical dramatic reading for Pentecost
Harvey S. Mozolak

may I present you with a dove

how nice
beautiful its white and all
with wings will stand out
against all the red
that streams
bannering this day

although fire at its hottest
flame is white
not so?
like a burning heart

it could be hung in a nursery
above a baby along with some animals
two of kind
a whole little display of Noah’s ark
and his cute furry friends
and feathered flock
is that not right?

the dove over the waters
is an image from the Bible
early on the first page
it speaks of the Spirit hovering
brooding over the watery deep
the wet waves of its scrolls
drying with indelible promises
sand on the shore
stars in the sky
for the rooting of tall family trees

that sounds too abysmal and ancient to me
maybe Noah and his little boat is better

well it wasn’t so little
and the water was awfully deep
and the drowning most everything living
except for the floating contents
flotsam of flesh
God saved

so the dove rescues
yes everyone is concerned with
safe car seats
and the proper width of bed bars
the size of things that can be swallowed
the manufacturing materials and paint on rattles
just the right kind of formula
and later infant food in graduated stages
so the dove saves?

true with certainty
from the chaos of sin
that is hard to see
in the orderly world
of a child with a nice crib
and Fisher-priced toys
oblivious to the fisherfolk
wading among the shoals of souls
in the disorderly worlds in which we live
where all can keep score
teams can win and tie
credit can accumulate
degrees be conferred
statues carved and dedicated
and all die of death

not nice talk
maybe it could be used
as a Christmas ornament
I have seen doves on holiday trees
and plenty on cards
that say, “Peace”
didn’t the winged angels
sing something like that?

think even earlier
than the first eve in the stable inn
to the mother Mary
made unstable by the presence of God
frightened by an angel
and told that the Spirit
would eclipse her
with the holiest of holiness
the everlasting tented in the temporary
magnificently yet with a baby’s cries
filling her bearing insides
the first nest for God’s Son
the beginning branches of a barren tree
planted deep
well before the animals’ bedding straw

but it is peaceful at Bethlehem
and at Christmas
even armies sometimes
put down their arms for the day

a sword pierces
the virgin’s heart
this her Son comes to bring
because his heaven’s love
is offensive and upsetting
not simply solace
but a weapon a furrowing plow
the cutting of the Word
that separates sin from within
through Spirit-inspired speech
the Dove Divine a quill
that writes God’s way and will
bringing to mind the teaching breath of Christ

where then shall it rest?
have we a tree?

over font poured blessing
to be filled with the Spirit
is to know the world’s hate
yet the friendship and care of God
to be his child
son or daughter In the Tree’s trace
forgiven to live
the life bound in time
and bound for abounding in God
in the new nation and race
those given eternal life

so a dove in the house
of earth
can we cage it in the kitchen?

the lamps have been lit
their flames plea
for the freedom of the people

sung over the lasting supper
in the table grace this epiclesis
veni creator Spiritus
come down creating Spirit
a song for the dove
divine love sublime
our prayer for God’s descent
on bread and wine
come Holy Spirit
before the loaf is broken
the cup is lifted in praise
and to our lips
come Lord Jesus
come Holy Spirit
come ours
Father in heaven
holy is your name
your kingdom come
and will be done
on lowly earth as in highest heaven
give us this day our daily bread
and forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us
lead us from temptation and the evil one
amen glory!

how is this dove a gift?

the Spirit is the giving
the power that changes
the gift that brings other gifts
as graces
the presence that presents
offering us as Christ’s to God
our Father

the servant at the table
with font and holy book
is servant on whom
ordained they have prayed
come down o love divine

to gather together
enlightened sanctified and kept
servants daily wet and washed
by the Lord’s self-shedding love
infants children
men and women
from old to young
frail or strong
with bowed faces
kneeling beneath the beams
that bear body and the blood
in remembrance that members
them with the risen Christ

this is the day of the dove

God’s love for his children
like the quiet fowl
thought feeble and meager
at which disobedient children
throw stones
and others their unwanted crusts

still its soft quiescence
stills and soothes the frightened
hallows the empty with the lace
of lovejoypeace

but comes also as plunging eagle
the prophets call
God’s vigilance of strength
who teaches us to walk and talk

the Spirit confused at Babel
so that all could hear
in catholic unison
only the language of God
and walk in his ways
mounting heaven’s blood-splattered ladder
lifted by his Son’s nail-notched
carpenter’s hands
crafting a mansion of mercy

feathering pinions
like white gloves
tenderly touching
lifting us to God
divine-fingered skin
leathered in our work
the gears of working wings
building sacred shelter
amid earth’s ruins
hands of the crucified
lifting from the mountaintop
their benediction’s wave pointing
to the coming of holy comfort

come Holy Spirit alleluia amen