I Remember

from by David Bowden Poetry

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I remember

I remember
who we were before this moment

I remember
the shadow of ourselves
now overshadowed by
the shelves
on which we placed
our former selves

I remember how
each of us here
placed our past
in tears
upon tiers of them
never to be touched again

I remember
how we approached God
hands empty
plans empty
demands empty
like we’re supposed to be
emptying ourselves
on those shelves
of our lives preceding
this moment
where, once and for all,
we put to death our
superficial worshipping
And this
Is it’s eulogy

Remember with me

I remember when God was idle
American made an
American idol
Idly laid on hymn song titles
Tidal waves of tidy Sunday
Bridal Singers
Made their way to
Display Charades.
We were all
Costume swingers
Wore lips like
but we were all
One day
of the
poorest Savior
War Ships of
ignored trips
Equipped with
For this
Event called

I remember
what church used to be
Sit, sing, sit, sip, sit, silent, sermon then
from a word prearranged
to a world unchanged
our despair unnamed
our problems deemed deranged
and we were estranged
in the exchange
of our time and expectations for
prewritten lines and explanations
about guys, whys, and places
that never addressed
our ache for a real God

I remember when
worship was a period of time
outlined by bulletins
bullied out by the
“Not this again”

I remember when
worship was protected
by walls and directions
I remember
the decorations
the song books
the screens
the long looks
at my jeans
the routines
the bowing
the closing
the opening
the spouting
off of words and notes
that never broke
through the wall
standing tall between
us and a god who’s
reality we could never recall

I remember it all

I remember when worship was
contained by fear
restrained by years
of traditional rearing
rules never spoken
but somehow never broken
we were
token children
of an understood system
fearsome that we might become
too radical to
prevent our selfish intent

I remember
what worship was before this moment

I remember
how we were all under the persuasion
of evasion
evading any invasions
of commitment, discomfort, or costly
we followed
the equation
me + church – cussing, sex, and alcohol = salvation

I remember
a time when I
would shout
“He is alive!”
and not one mouth
would scream
at the pronouncement
it seamed
no one
was out,
but were streaming
back to their hiding places
where worship’s
and singing’s
and no one
is reckless
enough to stand
on a corner
or in the corner store
to sit with the homeless
or out their homes front door
and sing louder than a motor’s roar
“How Great is our God”

I remember when
all of us were frauds

I remember when
the only form of worship we knew
was what we did
following motions on motionless pews

I remember when praise
had nothing to do with the other six days

I remember when
we forgot the Sabbath was for resting
and the rest of the week
was for working

I remember when
the only service we worked
was the service in church
When worship that was pure
Did not feed the poor
Saw itself as the cure
Cared for its enemy’s needs more than yours
Found the sick, dying, and lost and with them endure

I remember when
worship was a chore
When we all felt secure
just attending
but that was before
we realized
there is so much more
than pretending

But right now in this moment
as the saints are gathered round
and our God is present
and His son takes president
and His spirit’s our resident
we are within the descent of the triune
peasants in the tribunal land
and as we all stand
together repentant
grasping hands in our communal commitment to
clasping our plans to the eternal command
of what he meant for worship
and this is it
our opus
our openness
our hope is
our hopelessness
in everything we used to
hold as his
scope for what
worship is

Worship is love

I remember when he said
Love is the opposite
of getting
but sacrificing everything
dying, while living

I remember when
Jesus embodied it
his body embarked from
heavenly contentment
becoming this tent
of existence
God was a servant
The heavens observant
to humanity’s torment
Creator tormented
creation tormentor
And that’s the intent
of this event called worship

Worship is a cross
Worship is a loss
of everything that is not
embossed with the seal of God

So in this moment and every moment hereafter
Our praise of God will shake roofs and the rafters
Our praise will be aloof from the world and filled with laughter
Our praise will ruthlessly peruse a world filled with disaster
Our praise will unashamedly bear the proof of our master
For here in this moment and every moment hereafter
Our praise will not be contained by
walls and churches
alter calls and holy perches
busy malls and facebook searches
school halls and worldly diversions

Our praise will bleed into all our excursions
it will break free
stained glass
bible class
it will surpass
golden and brass
communion passing
trays to the next passive guest
it will clash
with standards
and traditions
for our praise
will live worship
as a mission

Now in this moment and every moment that proceeds
our praise will
flood the streets with song
shed blood for the needy and suffer along
give love to the enemy regardless of their wrongs
place above ourselves the least of these and with the weak be strong
For we will be the worshippers the father seeks, and he will have to search no longer

For Father we are your worshipers
Your unworthy dancers
we are your priasers
your passionate romancers
And now we stand before you and say
Worship is not what we sing but how we obey
And now we stand before you and say
Worship is not what we sing but how we obey
And now we stand before you and say
Worship is not what we sing but how we obey
And now we stand before you and say
Worship is not what we sing but how we obey


from Return Return, released April 11, 2011



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David Bowden Poetry Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

David Bowden started writing his first poems at 19 after an encounter with God on a road trip to Chicago. Since then he has been using spoken word poetry to exalt the Bridegroom and beautify the bride. David currently pastors a house church under and within Bridgeway Church in Oklahoma City, where he lives with his beautiful wife Meagan and cat Dexter. ... more

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