The City of God is Like This

The Descent of the New Jerusalem, Trinity College Cambridge, MS R 16.2 f. 25 v.

The kingdom (queendom? commonwealth? city?) of God is like
A mustard seed
Easily missed.

The city of God is like
An olive tree
An orchard
A seed
A wedding guest
An ordinary thing
Mistaken for its commonness
Plain and under appreciated
Void of power or privilege
Full of promise
An unseen harvest
Waiting on people and patience.

The city of God is like
A bunch of dead-looking habanero plants
My husband brought home from the nursery
For free
He said
I plant them
I resisted
He insisted.
Weeds in the garden got away from me.
I pulled tall tangled ones with gloved hands
At the end of the season
To make ready for spring
Try again.
I revealed thriving shrubs with
Unexpected ripe fruit
Red, orange, yellow
A bumper crop
A lifetime’s supply
For using fresh
The city of God is like this.

The city of God is like
A modest hope, a goal
Quietly worked toward
Triumphant in its realization.

The city of God is like
A woman
A bunch of women
With God-given gifts and power
Talents and experience
Knowledge and wisdom
By men who cannot see them
Who do not understand
They way things happen
In city of God.

Nancy Ross

Nancy Ross is an art history professor by day and a sociologist of religion by night. She lives in St. George, Utah with her husband and two daughters and co-hosts the Faith Transitions podcast.

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5 Responses

  1. Wendy says:

    This is gorgeous, Nancy. Thanks so much for sharing it with us.

  2. Florence says:

    Love, love, love it!

  3. Tessa says:

    Thank you

  4. ElleK says:

    Oh, Nancy! I could visualize all of this. Most especially, I love the image of women as habanero plants laden with fruit and hidden from view. It is distressing to me, but also poignantly beautiful.

  5. Violadiva says:

    Oh Nancy, I was going along great until the last stanza, then I cried. Thank you.

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