Richard dislikes rites and rituals.

I know – he told me so.

Likewise he dislikes symbols – they distract him from devotion

and so he prays before a cross

for Spirit gifts of tolerance and patience.

I cannot blame him.

Perhaps I understand the Protestant purge of churches.

I would myself smash statues

and burn books littered with red rubrics

if that would bridge the rift between us.

But would it?

I wonder whether Richard believes us nearly-Christians

who have been but sprinkled not immersed

have only a half chance of heaven?

And what about the Sally Army, great missioners to the maligned, neither dunked nor dipped

but only dedicated under Christ’s banner?

Have they no chance at all?


Is Richard going to stand four-square at heaven’s gate

refusing entry to those of other beliefs

whom God in his mercy has given leave?

 Polish people who loved their Polish pope

confided they didn’t do everything demanded

yet still their faith remains unshaken.

Perhaps Martin might have fared better in modern times

and like the Poles remained enfolded.

But things are as they are

and I would never desert the Church I love

that asks the disciplines it does of her disciples.

 God says to me, ”All is well;

all’s according to my plan and as it should be.

Go, and now invite my Richard round to tea.”