by Dennis Alger.
In the Philippines there are billboards all over the place advertising various places to eat. They show bowls of rice–unlimited with meal purchase–and simply say “all you can.” “Eat” is implied. This reflection is a takeoff on that theme.
All You Can
To fathom the mystery is an
Impossible dive into uncharted
Depths—think Marianas trench.
All we can do is imagine those
Scenes from stories ancient—and
Not so—that speak of fear, trauma,
All you can do is identify.
All we can do is recognize ourselves
Among those frustrated and confused
And—shall we say fickle?–crowds
Even the inner circle. Ouch!
All you can do is repent.
All we can do is remind ourselves of
Permanence within the story of
Reclamation: God’s preferential option
For us, no matter our betrayal.
All you can do is accept the claim.
All we can do is live into the untamed
Mystery of what is afoot among us
For all time amidst impermanence
And therein plant the rice of hope.
All you can do is tend the field of faith.
All we can do is ponder the anarchy of
Uncertainty amidst the dangerous
Undertow and sudden squall that
Threatens to overwhelm small boats.
All you can do is hold on, for life.
All we can do is show up and take
Our parts in the drama, choose our
Location, vantage point, like the
Zacchaeus of old, like mortals.
All you can do is engage.
All we can do is listen for the
Voice, so familiar, and not; await
The touch, however it comes to
Those who do not run away forever.
All you can do is return.
All we can do is reminisce with
Those who were there, are there,
And to these deeds testify among
Those who were not, are not.
All you can do is remember.
All we can do is go to Galilee as
Instructed—the Galilee of Portland,
Of Cagayan de Oro, of Boise, of
Gingoog City, Zamboanga, Gresham.
All you can do is show up; be fed.
All we can do is gather at the
Table of the One and the Many and
There recognize the eternality of
Divine promise and claim on all.
All you can do is perceive it.
All we can do is harvest the rice of
Justice; feed the spirits and bodies
Of God’s children for fullness of life
In all times and places with thanks.
All you can–eat, love, pray, live.
Salamat sa Dios!
Dennis Alger, Easter 2015
for CPC-NWMinJurUCCP Partnership
The Rev. Dennis Alger is the pastor of Gresham United Church of Christ in Gresham, Oregon. He has been instrumental in cultivating and sustaining the ministry partnership between the Central Pacific Conference, UCC and the NW Mindanao Jurisdiction, United Church of Christ Philippines (UCCP).