Sunday, May 22, 2011

If God Was One of Us

[Downtown Vancouver's East Side
image from Google]

I saw this Carry On Tuesday prompt: If God were one of us, taken from Joan Osborne's song "One of Us", on a friend's site, and the words began to play in my mind.

If God was
one of us,
He would be walking
among the homeless
in Downtown's East Side,
handing out sandwiches
and blankets.

If He were
one of us,
he would be
ladling soup
into bowls
from gigantic pots
at the soup kitchen,
and when His shift
was finished,
he would take
leftovers to
men wasting away
from AIDS,
on single cots
in dingy, depressing
cheap hotel rooms
along East Hastings.

If God
were among us,
He would
visit the women's
transition house,
and tell
the young mothers
they deserve
a life of
not being beaten.
And He would tell
their children
that mommy
was going to be
all right and everything, now,
was going to be okay.

He would stop by
the children's ward
in the hospital
and rock the babies
born on crack
and make the pain
go away.
And He'd share
smiles and stories
with the children
battling cancer,
and He'd tell them
they were beautiful
even without their hair.

If God
were among us,
He would sing sweetly
into the ears of
the passed out addicts,
and remind them
life can have beauty,
song and worth,
if they want it
more than
the drugs,
and that He'll
help them
find the strength.

And He would
visit the schools
in the poorest
part of town
and tell the children
that any dream
they dream,
they can achieve,
if they work hard
and believe.
And he'd tell them
a little  boy
called Obama
did it
and they can
do it, too.

At the end
of His busy day,
He would sit
on a bench
in the sun, smiling
at all the people
passing by,
listening to
street musicians
share their gifts.
He'd throw a toonie
in their guitar case,
and then
amble on.

With His robes,
His sandals,
His long hair,
he'd draw glances:
complicity from
the "freaks" with their long hair,
"My brutha from anutha mutha"
they'd say
and they'd all put up
two fingers:
"Peace, brutha."

When He passed
the schizophrenic man
with filthy matted tangled hair,
horrible raggedy clothes
full of holes,
with his angry ranting-
the man people
cross the street
to avoid -
He would stop,
wait for him to
stop yelling,
then ask him what
he needs.
He might double back
to McDonald's
and bring him back
a Coke and fries.
A man can always use
a Coke and fries,
even if he's too angry
to know it.

It occurs to me
in all of these
that God actually IS
one of us -
any one of us -
who smiles
at someone who needs it,
or hands out sandwiches
and hope to the hopeless,
or shares a laugh
with a lonely dying man.
He is one of us
and in each of us,
any time we do
something kind
just for kindness' sake.


  1. Ohhh! This is one of those one's that's going to make me think! I love it. I think one thing god would remind us of, if he were one of us, is that we have Worth, on the deepest layer of spirit, that is so strong we cannot kill it. Even when we try. And god would remind us until we remembered for ourselves. Great poem! xx

  2. You nailed this one Sherry. He is in all of us, each and everyone.


  3. You speak of a God I could believe in. And then you turn it on ourselves. When I see someone in need, I try to look at it as an opportunity to help and this I do willing. Not because I think I am God, but because I am asked and I respond, I think we get harder, when we look away.

  4. No. You're wrong. He would be a Republican senator from some red state, and He would decry same-sex marriage and abortion, and have a secret boyfriend and a mistress and all his kids would go to Ivy League schools and his wife would have her prescriptions and gin.

    Or not. ;-)

  5. You did justice to the prompt, Koko. And you outdid yourself on this one. It is as if it found you when your creative mode was blinking red. Amazing stuff.

  6. Well, I am not sure that your blog is good for me. I have come twice now and find myself in tears each time. First I am so terribly sorry for the loss of Pup. Secondly, this poem is perfection.

  7. Thank you, Liz. I just checked out your blog and we speak a kindred language!

  8. Perfect, Sherry. This is an excellent take on God and our modern world. Don't know if you saw this one:

  9. Sherry, forgive me for being redundant. I reread your poem when I was in a more peaceful place. This time, I had the cry I needed. A woman who worked in a soup kitchen with Lex (in Austin, TX), would always pray before they opened their doors, "...and let us all remember, God is coming through this door in every face we see." There is so much more I could say but I don't want to crash your blog. Loved it and love you. Amy

  10. Your words are a great inspiration, Sherry. I always think it ridiculous when someone leaves the comment: 'Keep writing', but please do.

  11. May God sit in governments and take care of recession, retrenchments and repression!

  12. Very inspiring message.. I love the modern and realistic scenes where we can find Him. True, He lives in all of us.

    Thanks for this ~

  13. Sherry, your poem is just perfect, so true and so timely, and this is one of those times when I think "I wish I'd written that" and then, "Why didn't I write that?"

    Kay, Alberta, Canada
    An Unfittie’s Guide to Adventurous Travel

  14. I agree with Kay: the kind of poem we should all aspire to.

    It is very moving and memorable, and I hope it will stay in my scratterbrained old head.

  15. there are few things i love more than when poets use their voices to speak for those who can (or do)not.
    applause and gratitude.

  16. Beautiful! I do see God everyday, but the Devil also makes his appearance nightly on the world news~ I loved your poem; it was touching, profound, full of sorrow n' grace! We all can do so much more~ I loved it~ xo

  17. Sherry, I would hope that God would be among us....with other people working in His behalf. This poem is especially meaningful at this time of year. I think God needs all the help He can get.

  18. You are right Sherry, the power to do good and make a change, however small, in people's lives is entirely in our hands - whether we believe it is something God would like us to do or just a humane reaction.

    1. Yes, God needs us more than ever. Your poem is brilliant--catching our attention and then making us look in a mirror and ask would I be Sherry's God or is Fireblossom right (I know it was satire, but still)? Have we given up hope? Thank you Sherry.

  19. You know when a person stands up and do those things, he becomes God. And if there ever were a God I believe it is in the love that we all hold within our heart and it is upto us to bring him out for the world to see. And I believe I'd love a bit of translation here :

    "My brutha from anutha mutha"
    they'd say
    and they'd all put up
    two fingers:
    "Peace, brutha."

  20. Oh! That is a wonderful message. We can all do so much... and yet we wait for a godly miracle when miracles can happen only from the hands of humankind.
    Beautifully penned. Thought provoking and thoughtful. :-)

  21. I don't have words to express how wonderful a read this is. It brought tears. Google the rucksack project if you haven't heard of it. That was inspirational for me an gave me hope.

  22. what a great message,..... something kind
    just for kindness' sake......... BEAUTIFUL. it touched my heart

  23. The displaced the homeless or even the under-privileged are everywhere, more so in areas of conflicts, Providence is there in the forms of help and sympathizers manning the fort. They don't declare themselves but they do what God wants them to do. We salute them. And you too have given a fair share with this declaration of a a poem. Great write Sherry!


  24. Well said, so beautiful, and so true. Such a different world we'd live in if people could remember such a simple truth.

  25. So beautiful and so true, and so sad that we could so easily make a better world by remembering such simple truths.

  26. Lovely ending to this - a great way to get the message across.

  27. Beautiful and meaningful on the second reading dear ~

  28. How absolute lovely - with emphasis on the love and synchronisitic personally as this song heard a day or two ago has been stuck in my heart. Yes, as others mentioned this brought tears - it is true and resonates with that truth... I remember feeling this way in a much much younger day of long hair and sandals and recognized that such a G-d would more than likely be villified by some and shunned by others. A wonderful wonderful poem. Thank you.

  29. yes, he is...and we are an extension of that as we touch the lives of so many ways every single day...or we can be you know....and in that we have the ability to change the world one life at a time....these are my people....

  30. wonderful reminder of the power we wield in everything that we do

  31. having been to the Eastside and many other similar strikes one deep into the many need help to break the cycle they are in...and there are not enough helping hands...

  32. I notice that I had already commented here.As things stand, the belief in goodness and some merciful divinity seems harder to hold on to.

  33. The last lines are the crux of the poem. Kindness and compassion to others and particularly to the less fortunate than ourselves. As these are such rare qualities and rarely displayed I do not consider them to be human qualities.They are spiritual qualities.

  34. This made me so happy to read.. yes I believe God lies in deeds of humanity not ceremonies and icons... I think we are on quite similar thinking today..

  35. yes, we need this image of god among us, in us.

  36. the compassion shines through in the words and the poem, Sherry.

  37. This is pure perfection Gabriella - a anthem of hope and possibilities. May we all follow the wisdom of it.
    Anna :o]

  38. Sorry Sherry - I left a comment in which I am sure I mistakenly referred to you as Gabriella. Much apologies - off to read Gabriella's now!
    Anna :o]

  39. this is amazing Sherry.

    and yes, it is an anthem of hope and possibilities, I agree with the comment above. and such a timely poem for this time of year. I couldn't agree more.

    unable to post at PU today, security issue came up, my post is here:

    Hugs to you, G

  40. this is amazing Sherry.

    and yes, it is an anthem of hope and possibilities, I agree with the comment above. and such a timely poem for this time of year. I couldn't agree more.

    unable to post at PU today, security issue came up, my post is here:

    Hugs to you, G

  41. Yes, we do have that divine quality in us when we show compassion, offer courage & understanding to the less fortunate. This is beautiful, Sherry, and full of hope :)

  42. Yes, absolutely ! divinity resides among ourselves. wonderfully penned down..

  43. I'm glad you reposted this Sherry, I truly believe and a warm meal, a kind word or just listening to people who don't feel heard can change the world and that is how God works through us.

  44. What an amazing, thought provoking poem. And a great reminder of how God wants to shine through us. Lovely.

  45. This reminds me strongly of the Quaker belief: The God in me sees and speaks to the God in you. He does walk among us. Thank you Sherry,

  46. This poem made me happy...and I keep smiling. Thank you so much! All need to read it every day for inspiration and as reminder about our missions here on the earth. Great!


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