For all the boots of the trampling warriors
and all the garments rolled in blood
shall be burned as fuel for fire
for a child has been born for us, a son given to us
authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named…Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9: 5, 6
Mass during the Night December 24, 2002
You first torched paper instead of human flesh as the B-52’s
poured napalm down in the land of the Burning Children.
Next, you wielded Isaiah’s hammers with single determination,
swords into ploughshares,
spears into pruning hooks.
Each blow you hoped to recast the molten metal of empire
back into God’s order and design,
a newer Jerusalem of sisterhood and brotherhood.
Tossed into Caesar’s stocks, you waged peace in prison-
organizing, teaching, fasting, counseling.
There was no tug of the forelock, no genuflection
to a state which resembled Mars, a Church resembling upper management.
Ripped from family, friends, you never blinked, did your hard time
and returned to the fray more gentle than ever.
Once again you picked up the hammers and sparks flew;
some flashed briefly, disappeared as quickly.
Others took flight and scorched our faces as we turned away
like Peter in the courtyard, frightened of the price we might
have to pay in Christ’s nonviolent army.
Some sparks lit dry faggots and other resisters picked up your hammers.
And so it went till the end and on the feast of St Nicholas
you gave your life back, Christmas wrapped in righteousness, to
the God of Peace