Columnist Rev. Dr. Andrea Ayvazian: ‘The Only Sermon’

Published: 10/15/2021 4:29:31 PM

if we dug a huge grave miles wide, miles deep

and buried every rifle, pistol, knife, bullet, bomb, bayonet

if we jumped upon fleets of tanks and fighter jets

with tool boxes, torches

unwelded them dismantled them turned them into scrap metal

if every light-skined man in a silk tie said

to every dark-skinned man in a turban

I vow not to kill your children

and heard the same vow in return

if every elected leader agreed to stop lying

if every child was fed as well as race horses bred to win derbies

if every person with a second home gave it to a person with no home

if every mother buried her parents not her sons and daughters

if every person who has enough said out loud I have enough

if every person violent in the name of God were to find God

we would grow silent, still for a moment, a lifetime

we would hear infants nursing at the breast

hummingbirds hovering in flight

we would touch a canyon wall and feel the earth vibrate

we would hear two lovers sigh across the ocean

we would watch old wounds grow new flesh and jagged scars disappear

as time was layered upon time we would slowly be ready

to begin

The Rev. Dr. Andrea Ayvazian of Northampton is an associate pastor at Alden Baptist Church in Springfield. She is also the founder and director of the Sojourner Truth School for Social Change Leadership. This poem was originally published in Sojourners Magazine years ago.

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