I never claimed to be the Christ,
The son of God, the 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
Why this was my final land,
Why my death upon a cross
Was a world entire's loss,
How sweet the fruits were of my search.
Only slowly did I come to see
The meaning of my too-brief life:
Why some I taught did shun
The man to make god's son,
And why they lost their way
In 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 each sacred living man —
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 only to teach,
Not really even to preach,
To live with those who'd share
My way of being, bare
Of pretense, falseness, show.
Oh would that I could intervene
And live with men a second time,
Just as some have prophesied:
Straighten out my legacy —
Though not as they imagine —
And wipe away the sin
That lies deep on my land of birth.
For Christians with their hundred sects,
And 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