By Elaine Knudtson
I knew him before his world collapsed.
He shuffled into church alone: needy, poor, broken.
Vulnerability alarms me.
Jesus descends into darkness and stretches his arms to embrace the world.
I approve, but not in this space.
Sickness is death,
Poverty is scarcity,
Mental illness is entanglement.
Keep these away from me.
I will pray for those in the world; I fear them in this space.
Their existence contrasts with my self-righteousness,
Revealing coldness, inhospitality and fear.
Love is easy when it requires no interaction with the unlovely.
The beggar turns to me.
“The peace of the Lord be with you,” he says as he extends his hand,
Exposing my poverty in this sanctuary.