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  • Chenayde Anrahams

Calm the Water

The following poem was written by Chenayde Anrahams, who is a student in the Love Thy Neighbour(hood) School in South Africa ( that uses some of the courses in IRPJ's Certificate in Religion, Peace and Justice as part of their program. More specifically, this poem was a powerful, beautifully provocative, and moving response to a guest lecture by Dr. Matthew Lynch on the topic of Noah, human violence, and divine re-creation in Dr. Brad Jersak's course, 'Peace and Violence in the Old Testament' (visit


it is easy to believe that You are violent

because of the scars on my knees from the day

that my joy was brought down to them

words spat upon my back

worthless, ugly, unwanted

if You had made me beautiful

made Your people to be peaceful

then why did their words sting my eyes like acid on the face of a kind wife in India

it is easy to be believe that You are violent

when death bit through the flesh of my flesh

it stood proudly as i watched him go down

to the darkness of the cursed soil

watched it envelope our lives simultaneously

with no residue of a life ever lived

if You had made him beautiful

call Yourself our Healer and Friend

then where were you on the day I knelt next to his body and pleaded with You to

show up

please, just show up

oh, Healer and Friend

where were you?

it is easy to believe that You are violent

when i held her in my arms

spoke the blow of the Wind of Life over her

while she walked home

to take the blows to her tiny face

to feel the Wind of Wrath come upon her

as her hands grasped to the Hope

that i had

lied to her about

if You had made her beautiful

call the little children beloved

then why not this one?

why not all of the ones with brown faces and hard lives

it is easy to believe that You are violent

when long cold windy journeys from dusty scary lands

makes women choose between which son to send into the water

which son will demand less on her fragile body

on all the other bodies

in that wooden creaky boat

if You made them beautiful

made Your people to be kind

then why are there refugees?

why are their bodies offered up to the waves like sacrifices of the un-Worthy

while we watch them on our flat screen TVs

pass bread rolls around

as we feel the disgust of their demise

oh, Lord

they are drowning

oh, Lord

i am drowning

oh, Lord

we are drowning

give me the mercy to remember

that You, oh Jesus

calm the water

instead of raging it against them

against me

against us.


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