A Banquet For The Poor

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." (1)

"Now he told a parable to those who were invited, when he marked how they chose the places of honor, saying to them, "When you are invited by any one to a marriage feast, do not sit down in a place of honor, lest a more eminent man than you be invited by him; and he who invited you both will come and say to you, 'Give place to this man,' and then you will begin with shame to take the lowest place. But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when your host comes he may say to you, 'Friend, go up higher'; then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at table with you. For every one who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted." (2)

The Church Mouse

When most are seated in the hall,
She shuffles, unseen, to the rear.
Her place: a corner near the wall
In silence -- where no one will hear.

The banquet starts with pomp and grace:
A procession for all to see.
Yet church mouse remains in her place,
Waiting for crumbs so patiently.

With precision and mastery,
The Pastor carves and serves the Word.
The church mouse, in her poverty,
Gulps down the scraps as they are heard.

The next course is the bread and wine,
Prepared before the guests at hand.
As they're transformed to the Divine,
The church mouse waits without demand.

As guests are served the precious Fare,
The church mouse is the last in line.
Her heart is poor: empty and bare.
She takes her fill of the Divine.

The banquet ends; the guests depart.
The church mouse sees them shuffle past.
She ponders, with love in her heart:
The Master says: "The first are last!"

(c) Paul Buis, 2001

(1) Matthew 5:3
(2) Luke 14:7-11