...before you were born
                    I consecrated you,
                 I appointed you
                                    a spokesman to the peoples. 
                                                   -- Jeremiah 1:5

Ordination doesn't give me anything
I don't already have,
whether spirit or authority.
This rite is only public recognition 
that I have things to give
and am prepared to give them
despite my seeming youth.
If it's really God
who bestows these orders,
no human can defrock me
for heresy or insubordination.
So long as I am still attuned
to today's reality,
the one who's really Real
will continue to support me
against all odds and opposition.
But should I ever cease to give
all that I've been given
or stop listening for his voice
in what today has happened,
it would be I who vacates this post
of watchman for the Truth.

                                                                   -- Mahlon H Smith 

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* Note: This reflection on Jeremiah 1 is based on an entry
in the author's journal
(dated 21 April 1969)
in response to examination of his qualifications for
his denomination's ordination.
It is published here for the first time.

Collected Poems
Mahlon H Smith

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