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The State -- from "Abba's Way"

By       Message Stephen C. Rose       (Page 1 of 1 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   No comments

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The state was formed from failure, not from hope.
From unsolved crimes, rampant disease and hate.
From anarchies and tortures. fires and floods.
To satisfy our longing for control
And keep our harmful passions at safe bay.

Now when we murder, there are courts and jails.
When we go out, roads, schools, zoned buildings, parks.
And when we drive, signs, signals, highways, tolls.

States upon states, all bounded by all law.
A paper trail from birth to burial.
Records on file, on disks, in storage vaults.

So what is Abba's now? And what the state's?
Abba's within police and presidents.
Abba's within the angered anarchist.
Abba stands for the self who overcomes.

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The state may call us to annihilate.
This is not Abba's call, nor Abba's due.
The state may speak untruth and seek belief.
This is not Abba's call, nor Abba's due.

Do not waste energy in vain protest.
Use energy to create your best work.
Do not cry slavery, instead find space.
A tiny space where freedom's light can shine.

A state is judged by what it does not seek.
A state is judged by how it does not fight.
A state is judged by how much good it shuns.

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For doing good is not the province of the state.
When it becomes that, we get "charity"
And "charity" will never overcome.
It will make posters of its fair, good works.
And document progress with every smile.

This is the compact of our governance,
Our alliance of all who say, All's well.
All is not well, save where Abba's alive.
And Abba lives in all who speak their No
To everything that is not Abba's own.

The state is Abba's own when it desists
From saying it is just when it is not.
The state is Abba's own when it recedes
And those who serve it give Abba his due.
"On earth there is none greater than we are.
We are the very finger of the Lord."
Thus speaks religion wearing stately garb.
To such a state give nothing but the least.
To such religion give nothing at all.

The earth is free now, even for great souls.
The lonesome and the twosome can find space,
Fanned by the fragrance of the silent seas.

The state was formed from failure. It succeeds
As crime recedes and hate is modified.
As tortures end and prisons are less used.
As living space can resist fire and flood.

When we live as Abba would have us live,
The failure of the state will start to lift.
The lion and the lamb will hold peace talks.
And hope will rise from failure like a flower.

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Born in NYC, attended Oberlin & Trinity Schools, then Exeter and Williams (Phi Beta Kappa 1958). Worked with the Reverend James Robinson, finished Union Theological Seminary in NYC (1961). Joined Student Interracial Ministry in Nashville. Founded (more...)

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