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Entries in strange disciple (2)


Strange Disciple

This is Strange Disciple from my collection My Mother is an Old Elephant. It's inspired by a marginal note I found in in the gospel of Luke in an old KJV bible. The note related to the story of the man who was casting out demons in the Lord's name and was rebuked by the disciples because he wasn't one of them. That was years back, and now I don't know exactly where I found it. 

It reminds me of one of my favourite quotations from the late Henri Nouwen, the Catholic priest, writer and social activist, who said:

"When the imitation of Christ does not mean to live a life like Christ, but to live your life as authentically as Christ lived his, then there are many ways and forms in which a man can be a Christian."


Strange Disciple

Held no creed
believed in what he could believe
bending like a flaxen reed.
Blessing where blessing lacked
healed heavy souls and broken-backed.
Never knew the master’s gaze,
fought with his men
who thought they had the rights back then
not recognising whom they praised.
Spent his long days doing good
caring, mending, defending
putting heart in heartless places
winning some,
losing more
never keeping score.
Now buried with a single stone
by half-men from among the tombs
who knew a saint by smell alone
and waited for the carnival to leave
then carved his name
and beat their breast
full men at their very best.

Who was that man, he’d often thought
who threw the fire that he had caught?


The strange disciple

My favourite story from the gospels is that of the strange disciple. He found himself at loggerheads with the disciples, because he was casting out demons in the saviour's name, but wasn't part of the inner circle. They told him to stop, but Jesus told them to leave him alone. "He that is not against us is for us," was his verdict. I find this very encouraging, though no doubt theologians of all flavours are aghast at the woolly thinking behind it. No doctrine. No dogma.

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