giants & business parks

by Zach Kincaid
Up a bent back of stairs
I climb these great quasimodo heights,
an aerie altar communing with first rains
and leveling afternoon suns.
Year after year,
layer upon layer,
floors on floors have slowly formed
a breed of long-necked giants.
Looming over their creators,
these sky-scraping beasts
with their thousand glass eyes
demand homage.
Why do these industrial goliaths stand?
Who holds David’s five smooth stones?
Where lies a Babel resolution?
Below, mazed serpents slither in each day
and retreat at its close.
Stale steeples dot the stolen landscape.
Before the giants, they dominated.
Now, with low loftiness, they hardly peer into a city’s heart
let alone a people’s –
those single swords dangling, fledgling
in a sky full of options.

They have surrendered it to economic monuments.
Yet, their bellies lay bloated,
complexes constructed not for glory but for greed,
not to service worship but to self-serve the ego.
Has the church become a business park?
Stretched out to accommodate,
they applaud on queue with the giants,
“Yes, we will find peace in barna’s circus
polling through our parking lots and Bible shows.”
Might the church stretch and fly with St Francis' birds,
who after hearing the gospel,
flew out in the shape of a cross to tell the world?
Can business park climb to cathedral heights?
Do street corners still ring with mounted preachers
who desire repentance before comfort?
Come, let us each attempt to drive our camels
through the eyes of heaven's needle,
not through the eyes of the giants
that circle above like devouring buzzards.
I have climbed to this altar
and now must work in its belly.
May my motives turn red, stained with the guts
that form hearts after the Maker’s very own.

[Thank you to Victor Hugo who placed Quasimodo atop Notre Dame to survey the city of Paris. Though the point of view today is predominantly different, it is fundamentally the same. Might we have the love of church to enliven her with Quasimodo and courage enough for Christ to ravish even our mortal bodies to lie, in the end, with the one we love.]

(May 2003)