Rich Jesus

July 15, 2010

This poem first appeared in a Facebook note titled “A Poem for the Pro-Prosperity Christians who Stalk my Facebook Wall” on 15 July 2010.

Rich Jesus

Great God born as man to a line
of kings – so still not one of us.
From womb to death, he came and went
on the backs of bridled beasts, slow
with the weight that craved their slowness:
it made cheers last that much longer.
He healed the sick as demoned sick –
he himself never fell ill, nor,
as we learn, grew old as most do.
His smile was perfect to its tips
with two straight rows of moneyed teeth.
He prospered the poor, and the rich
he sent away for not wanting
more. His own bag of Eastern gold
bought him friends since young. They called out:
“Is that not Jesus, Mary’s son,
brother of James, Joseph, Judas,
and Simon?” – He kept on smiling.
Even his last night was a feast:
wine and luxury bread with dip
after a servile washing of
his powdered feet. So what went wrong,
we could only gather midway
through the rolling credits. They bound
him, diced for his expensive clothes,
and hung him for a little death.
Then, as from noontime nap, he roused
first from a rich man’s tomb and next
on Heaven’s soft silk and jewelled throne.
This must be so in order that
a loving God might condescend
to be paupered, made once to wear
our bad flesh and daily aches,
our death in living and sin-
seared conscience – creatures never free
enough to enjoy appetite!
All these they say he bore, except
we know now how it hardly was
the case. He walked on two inches
of ivory above each plot
of earth – God never one of us.

Gwee Li Sui


2 Responses to “Rich Jesus”

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