Woe to You If You Fear Men More than God

Woe to You If You Fear Men More than God – Poem

Judith Robbins

Stepping out of the tub after my shower

those words came back and I understood

they were meant for me as well as the church

to which I had spoken them years ago in print.

Lodged at my typewriter down in the cellar.

I wrote an article about charismatics

coming out of the closet within the church

accused of fanaticism, extremism, fringiness

the last the worst to most who feared ostracization

for the expression of their experience of the Spirit.

These charismatics, like frightened lemmings

heeded not the warning but hurried, hurried

to the right of the church, which tipping already

from right-wing fervor, threatened to capsize

the Bark of Peter, wildly out of balance.

Run to the Master: Jesus wake up!

We’re shipping water badly and threaten to sink.

Will he rise as he did in Galilee

to rebuke the waters and winds of excess

or will he turn to us as to the apostles

exhorting courage and rebuking our little faith?

The danger of overcorrection is great

and needs to be guarded against,

but better excess in the life of the Spirit

than care in pleasing men.

Woe to you if you fear men

more than you fear God: Woe to you.

–Judith Robbins Whitefield, Maine

COPYRIGHT 2000 National Catholic Reporter

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