When Jesus Came East Out of Texas

Happy Easter, y’all.

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When Jesus came east out of Texas, He came out tan,
even dark skinned, brown eyes, black hair. A Somebody
He could’ve been, being Jesus. Instead He was
a cotton chopping, dish washing, toilet cleaning, hard working
Man of a Jesus, His hands calloused from the fields He’d worked,
His muscles aching so tired He could hardly sleep most nights.

When Jesus came east out of Texas, He came out kicking-up dirt
along the lonely, dusty road leaving Nazareth
coming into a country that don’t allow a kicking up dirt.
Run out of town He was
near tarred and feathered for saying a thing that was true.
You see, a prophet don’t get a bit of respect in the town He’s from.
Nazareth folk knew His mama and His stepdaddy,
claimed they’s always acting uppity like his kin was closer to the Almighty than anybody,
keeping the Sabbath and testifying,
yes testifying they’d been touched by the Lord’s own hand.
Said they’d seen an angel too. “Imagine that,” some said.
“God can’t be that real, just one big myth and no place to be found.
We townspeople been praying way too long for the Expected One
and we’re not about to be taken in by a bastard Son of Joachim’s child.
If this Jesus is a messiah, the town drunk must be Moses.
After all, that drunk would part the Red Sea too if there’s a bottle of whiskey on the other shore.
And he can quote the Scriptures better’n any Baptist preacher.”

When Jesus came east out of Texas, He scrounged up work wherever He could,
roustabouting on the rigs out in the Gulf,
picking peaches over Georgia way,
digging the black rock out of West Virginia hills.
Even cleaned stables from time to time—
some said He felt home there, being He was Mary’s Baby Child born in a stall.
Right good with animals too, God’s own creatures He called them.
Able to gentle a horse nobody else could.

When Jesus came east out of Texas, He met up with a river.
Went and got Hisself baptized in that great Euphrates of a river;
yes, baptized down yonder in the Old Muddy Mississippi
near Jericho where the seven walls fell,
baptized by His own sweet cousin John,
you know the Baptist who preached
John three sixteen once saved always saved amen.
Straightaway a Dove
whiter than the snow white robes of the saints washed in the Blood,
that Holy Ghost Dove rose,
like Excalibur He rose out of the waters and into the heavens
calling out in dove-talk words only a prophet would know.

When Jesus came east out of Texas, He shook Hisself free,
shook off that river, pulled on His sneakers.
Spent a time in the Delta and ran up against Doctor Hoodoo at the Crossroads,
gave old Scratch such a whacking
right then and there Beelzebub invented the Blues.
Then it was on down to New Orleans for Jesus,
that Sodom and Gomorrah town
where sinners cut their eye teeth on the Seven Deadlies.
Amongst the smells of remoulade and gumbo drifting through the Vieux Carré,
Jesus changed the me-got-troubles-and-the-troubles-me-got-cut-down-deep-to-the-bone
Beelzebub Blues into Jazz when Jesus came east out of Texas.

When Jesus came east out of Texas, He hopped the night train to Memphis.
Hoboed Hisself up to Graceland and the Land of Elvis,
that motherlode of Rock and Roll born wearing Blue Suede Shoes
cradled alongside the Mother of Rivers,
where Mary Mag in a room at the Heartbreak Hotel called out to her lover, “Love me tender,”
where Simon Peter, like his daddy and his granddaddy before, worked the docks, loading and unloading,
where Beale Street opened its arms wide, welcoming a Man named Jesus,
for Jesus loved sinners, and the sinners loved Jesus.

When Jesus came east out of Texas, He told stories,
and He told them ‘bout prodigals and rejects,
‘bout a beggar name of Lazarus and a mustard seed
with faith ‘nough to move a mountain cross the State of Georgia.
But the sinners had heard them all before
from the holy ghost healers and the Bible thumpers and the tent preachers,
from the theologians and the priests and the social gospelleers,
from the Billy Sundays and the Bishop Sheens and the Billy Grahams
they had heard the stories and were none too partial to hearing them again
till they heard the “fear not” in the voice of Jesus who came east out of Texas
and the Beloved He took to calling them like they’s somebody.

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When Jesus came east out of Texas, he moved from town to town
making His way through places with names like Shiloh and Rose of Sharon and New Hope,
just dots on a map for some but home for others.
Wherever He went walking, a rag-tag band followed after,
souls in need of learning how to swim, souls drowning in a sea of storms,
souls like Mary Mag come begging for love,
a woman the gossips dubbed Slut from the shantyside of town.
She Sunday-dressed and fancied herself up and dropped down on her knees
in the grass, in the dirt to beg the feet of Jesus for forgiveness.
He gave her what she wanted much;
He loved her tenderly with words that forgave her many sins.
And them sinning folk, my how they loved Jesus.
Would have followed Him anywhere the sun rises and sets.
But at the edge of the crowd stood a preacher name of Caiaphas.
He heard all the Truth that Jesus spoke and he didn’t listen ‘cause he was so full of hisself.
He turned and walked away from Jesus with a “how dare he” on his lips.

When Jesus came east out of Texas, He preached a sermon,
preached it on the banks of the Chattahoochee.
Said a lot of strange things, things like “Blessed”
and “Forgive” and “Turn the other cheek” and “Love your neighbor.”
Told one fellow, “Take up your street and walk.”
That man, who couldn’t walk, did just that, stood hisself up
and walked, walked away with no limp at all.
Another time He said, “If you begat the sword, the sword will begat you.”
Called God, you know the Almighty Jehovah, He named Him Father.
Said, “God is Love.” Of all things.
“How ‘bout that,” said the sinners who had always thought
God was Judge and Jury, and Sheriff too.

When Jesus came east out of Texas, some of the upstanding,
well they had themselves a meeting,
an Upstanding Citizens Committee Meeting.
Seems they didn’t like the rumors coming their way ‘bout this Man Jesus
Like He could walk on water, heal the sick, cast out demons.
“Everybody knows there ain’t no such thing as demons,” they said.
“So how can He cast out a thing that ain’t?”
There was even talk that Jesus raised a dead man right out of his sleep.
“Downright blasphemous was what that was,”
the citizens said. “Let the dead lie in peace.”
From the mouth of Preacher Caiaphas, they heard
the words they felt deep down in their hard-hearted hearts, they heard,
“We can’t allow any more of His Good News stuff being spread around.
Why, what will happen to law and order, to hellfire and brimstone, if the sinners believe?”

When Jesus came east out of Texas, the citizens
dressed themselves up in hoods and in robes like it was Halloween and went out looking.
When they found Jesus, they watched and they watched ‘cause watching was what they did
till one night they found Him alone down by a creek a-praying.
Arrested him on a trumped-up charge. “Baptisin’ without a license,” the hypocrites called it.
Had themselves a trial. But it was no real trial, just a sham of a justice.
“So you think you’re a Jesus?” Preacher Caiaphas said, his spite spitting out the words of Satan
who’d known he’d have his revenge for the whacking he’d taken from the hand of Jesus.
“You ain’t nothing of a Jesus. Our Jesus
is a blue-eyed, blonde-haired, fair-skinned Jesus, and you ain’t him.”

When Jesus came east out of Texas, the whip came down,
it came down hard on Jesus,
and the whip came down hard some more
till it had come down hard on His back some thirty-nine times.
“Let’s hang the nigger,” one of the hoods shouted out.
The citizens carved King of the Niggers into His face,
into the face of Jesus and they lynched Him from a tree.
Strung up in space He swung halfway ‘tween earth and heaven
till He died that dark and moonless night.
Then the hypocrites one by one slunk away, saying,
“Well, that’s the last we’ll hear of that nigger.”

Later, later in the dark, later in the night, His friends came to the tree,
that lonesome tree where the Good Man hung—
Mother Mary, Mary Mag, Simon Peter, Little John, they came
and pulled His body down, bruised and scarred.
They laid their broken Jesus into a grave by the river He’d loved.

Out of the darkness came a great shout of light when
Jesus who came east out of Texas stepped out of the ground,
His body now whole and new, and the world could not hold Him,
He ascended into eternity like He’d said He would,
promising, “Mi amigos, viyo con Dios, and remember
I shall see you again.
Soon.”

So look east, my friends. Yes, look east and perhaps,
just perhaps….

Saint Peter and Mrs. Saint Peter

Just think. For three years, you’ve been out doing the Lord’s work. “On the job training,” Jesus called it. You come home for a few days rest and relaxation. You’d think the wife would be happy to see you. But here’s what you get.

Mrs. Saint Peter runs out to meet her husband. Hugs him. “I’ve missed you a lot.”

Saint Peter hugs his wife real good. “I’ve missed you too, Agatha. It’s been three years on the road. I sure could use one of your extra special back rubs and a pile of your homecooking. And it’s been three years since I’ve had a good bath.”

“I can tell.” They walk hand in hand back to the two bedroom house Saint calls home. “Well, it’s good to have you back.”

“But you know what? Jesus—”

“You’re home for good?” she interrupts as they walk into the living room.

“He rose from the dead. It was the most amazing—”

“There’s so much work to be done around here,” she says enthusiastically, her voice full of hope.

“thing,” he finishes his sentence. “And He put me in charge. I sure have a lot to do. It’s not—”

“The roof needs mending and there’s the boat to patch. Things have just gone to rot since you left.”

“BUT WOMAN, I CAN’T STAY. I HAVE TO LEAD THE DISCIPLES OF JESUS.”

“Don’t shout. It’s not the Christian thing to do.”

“Well, He put me in charge.” Saint is adamant now.

“Jesus did what?” Hands on her waist, she stares at him with disbelief.

“Jesus left me in charge,” he says with pride, a big grin on his face. “He even called me Rock.”

She laughs. “Rockhead more likely. If Jesus left you in charge, he sure made a big mistake.”

Peter’s face is starting to turn red from anger. “You never did believe in me. And you just don’t understand.”

“Understand? What’s there to understand? All I know is there’s a lot of work around here that needs doing and you’re never around to help.”

“Woman, all you do is—nag, nag, nag. Tar the roof, mend the floor, fix the wall, hinge the door. Catch the fish, sail the boat, paint the house. I’m a joke.”

“Peter, Peter, I wish you could hear yourself. All you do is brag, brag, brag. Walk the sea, heal the blind, change the water into wine. Thousands fed, raise the dead. He chose you, you dumpy head.”

Saint storms out of the house. “I don’t know why I ever came back, Nagatha.”

“Me neither. You never change.” She stands at the door.

“That’s not true. I do change.”

“Peter, you’re a good man, but you’re awfully hard-headed.”

“I’m not going to stay here and listen to this. I’ll go where I’m appreciated. And can be in charge. I’ll see you in three more years.” He stalks off into the darkness. “Women.”

“Men! Hmph!” She slams the door.

God’s Day Off

Sunday is God’s day off. I know what you’re thinking. Saturday is the Seventh Day, and the Big Guy gets the seventh day off. I’m here to to tell you that is so Old School. Just check most calendars. The week starts with Monday. Not Sunday. Sunday is now the seventh day and that’s God’s day for R and R. It’s in the Good Book, you know.

Come Sunday, He’s really tired. Running the universe is one thing. Easy peasy. Answering prayers, well, that’s a totally different thing. You’ve heard the saying, “You can please none of the people all the time, some of the people some of the time, and all the people none of the time.” That’s prayers for you. Like Ringo sings, “It just don’t come easy.” And like a recent president used to say, “It’s hard.”

But God does His best to keep the whole thing rolling. I would say that He does a darn good job of it. Oh, sure. He gets help from all those angels. But you know what they say? The buck stops here. God keeps hearing that, and it’s about to piss Him off. He’s got patience up the wazoo but enough is enough.

So it’s not too much to ask that the Big Guy get one day a week off. He’s been thinking about a vacation but He’s having a rough time training someone to do the work while He’s gone. He would let Jesus run the show when He’s gone. The thing is Jesus is off trying to save another planet. Been sending emails back to Heaven saying that He’s finally found a race more stubborn than human beings.

Holy Spirit don’t have the time either. She’s been in a scuffle with a bunch of rebellious angels. Can’t break away for the time being. God tried out Moses but he kept dropping things. And King David has this thing going with some angel named Bathsheba. He can’t spare the time either. Buddha just refuses. He says he’s definitely not in the god business.

So, for the time being, all God’s getting off is His Sundays. It gives Him a chance to sleep late. Have breakfast in bed, served on a golden platter by Mrs. G herself. She keeps telling Him to lay off the bacon. He’s told His people no bacon. So why not Him? He tells her, “There’s an exception to every rule. And since I make the rules, I can make the exceptions.” She would have pushed the subject but she decided she had better not. He’s pretty good with those thunderbolts.

Next He goes out for a game of golf. He’s a two under par player. He likes to tee off with the Archangel Gabriel and work on improving His score. Used to play with Michael but Michael has a tendency to take things way too serious. Satan tried to talk God into a game of touch football but Jehovah wasn’t having any of that. Golf’s the game for Him. ‘Doing it for the exercise,” He says. God has been trying to shed a few pounds lately. Wants to get down to his ideal weight of 188. Since He is not averse to a little wager on the side, He and Gabe have a running bet. The winner buys the other dinner.

And just to show that He’s a caring husband, God picks up a dozen red roses for the Mrs. on His way home. At the end of the day, He gets a good night’s sleep and He’s ready for a new week.

Now what does this mean for you and me? Means we have to keep the prayers to a minimum on that seventh day. God’s assistant, a guy named Mercury, has been known to put them in the spam folder. Then they get deleted at the end of the day. So a word to the wise.

If there is an emergency, you can always call the Heavenly 9-1-1. Not sure who you’ll get. But if Michael is on duty, talk nice to him. He’s been known to kick butt just because someone was in a rush. Be prepared to duck. He’s got a mean left hook.

Police Brutality

It had been a long night for Jesus. First the Passover meal, then the praying in the Garden of Gethsemane, then a nice stroll around the Garden. Just as He was about to leave the Garden, this cop showed up.

“Gee, I was just out taking a walk,” Jesus said to the Roman cop.

“Don’t you know that this is a white rich guy neighborhood?” the cop said to Jesus.

“Isn’t it a free country?” Jesus said.

“Not for your kind,” the cop said to Jesus. “So are you going to go peacefully or are we going to call in the SWAT team for you and your boys over there?”

“You can’t do this,” Jesus said. “I know my rights.”

“Look, Buddy, the only right you got is to move along. If you don’t, we’re taking you to jail.”

“But—“ Jesus said

“Okay, Buddy,” the cop said and grabbed Jesus’ arm. “It’s jail for you.”

Jesus felt his sandal fall off. He went down to slip it back on. The cop pulled out his revolver and slammed Jesus over the head. “Hey, guys,” the cop shouted. “Resisting arrest.”

A Boxing Day Satirical Christmas Carol

Happy St. Stephen’s Day and Boxing Day to all you celebrants out there.

God Rest Ye Merry Gentle Girls

God rest ye merry gentle girls,
Let nothing you dismay,
Jesus wasn’t born on Christmas,
He was born Thanksgiving Day.
There were no sheep or sheperds,
Only turkeys came to pray.
Oh sure, there were the wise men,
At Massachusetts Bay.

The Pilgrims came by a ship,
Mayflower was its name,
Least that’s what we’ve been told
By those in history’s game.
Pilgrims came with Columbus,
So he could have his day,
And we could have a Thanksgiving
The good, old American way.

Ben Franklin scared the zombies,
Told them to fly a kite.
Abe Lincoln killed the vampires
“Fore they could go out and bite.
A blue-eyed, blonde-haired Jesus,
He’s really the god for us.
If you don’t accept our Jesus,
We’ll kick you off the bus.