I never claimed to be the Christ,
The son of God, savior of man,
A worker of wonders,
The ender of plunder —
Martyred and anointed,
To cleanse all living men of sin.
Such sin I did not recognize:
Violations of long-dead rules.
I brooked no division,
No unnatural fission;
I sought one congregation,
One fellowship of nations,
One home on earth for all to live in.
Upon my death they brought me here:
The home of heroes, not of saints.
At first I didn't understand
Just why this was my final land,
Or why my death upon a cross
Had been a world entire's loss,
How sweet the fruits were of my search.
Slowly, slowly I came to see
The meaning of my too-brief life:
Why some of those I taught did shun
The man I was to make god's son,
And why it was they lost their way
Amidst a crowd of gods and strayed
From simple truths to build a church.
Now every year brings fresh reports
Of violence done (and in my name!)
To what I held divine:
The heart and soul and mind
Of every sacred living man —
And not the so-called higher plans
Of gods above and kings below.
I never lusted for the power
That kings and gods and rulers hold;
I wanted but to teach,
Not even quite to preach,
To live with those who'd share
My way of being, bare
Of pretense, falseness, envy, show.
Oh would that I could intervene
And live with men a second time,
As some think is prophesy:
I'd straighten out my legacy —
Although not as they imagine —
For I would wipe away the sin
That lies deep on my land of birth.
The Christians with their hundred sects,
Even their many heretics,
Came to love authority
Of the kind that murdered me,
Lost their love for that thing —
The human soul — that brings
Good will to men and peace on earth.
Peter Saint-Andre > Writings > Ancient Fire