Form Letter

Dear Applicant,

Thank you for your interest
In joining our glorious, elite
And ill-defined venture.
We are sure you will somehow
Manage to make a great asset
Of yourself in our company.

Space is limited! Act now!
There is, as you well know,
Only so much room on a boat
Or in a hillside hollow.

We are at present recruiting
A dozen or so men of Israel
Who have already demonstrated
A notable capacity for following,
Failure to follow through on jobs,
And remarkably little else.

It appears that this profile
Fits your skills and experience!
We invite you to join us today
At almost the eleventh hour
For a detailed training lecture
With your fellow applicants.

We expect that there will be
A bit of rancor and quarreling,
A raised voice here and there,
Even bragging and competition…
A ruckus in the marketplace,
As one might say.

But you will be pleasantly surprised
At what you are called to do
And are capable of doing…
Not to mention with whom!

No longer will you be
A disappointment to friends
A reproach to family
Or to self.

In no time at all
We will make you
A tax-collector of men.

Thank you for your kind attention,


About Greg Wright

I have worn many hats as a writer and editor over the years. Unlike my scholarly and journalistic work from the "old days" at Hollywood Jesus, Past the Popcorn, or SeaTac Blog, the writing here is of a more overtly personal and spiritual nature. I hope it provokes you as much as it provokes me.
This entry was posted in Poetry, The Gospel According to Peter. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Form Letter

  1. Greg Wright says:

    Peter’s sarcastic reaction to finding himself of the other 11 Apostles just prior to the Sermon on the Mount.

  2. Josie says:

    I had an idea that if I entered this poem through the Sermon on the Mount I could write a good comment.
    I’m sorry, that’s not going to happen. What did is I got depressed, thinking about the abyss between preaching and practice, giving and getting, the loser-takes-all of the Beatitudes and the brutality of a dog-eats-dog world. It’s as if we spend our lives on the wrong side, dropping in scruples and promises and causes. We *think* the challenge is to rise to the top of the pool of applicants. But every time I read those words I’m struck anew: the hardest thing Jesus asks, it seems to me, is a kind of drowning. That you let the waters of competition and strife close right over your head. No one wants to test the deep end of pure faith. No one wants to be the meek, or persecuted or broken in spirit. The one who throws his cloak after his coat. So in the end we don’t apply for the job – or we defer admission – except for the part of us that finds skepticism even bleaker. (the part that reads and writes poetry.) There, that’s a messy response to your poem (and you can go ahead and delete it!)

    • Greg Wright says:

      Well, to be honest, that same depression happened to me as a writer. Even though the text behind this poem predates the Sermon on the Mount, I knew the Sermon on the Mount was looming on the horizon, and the prospect of waxing poetic about one of the great pieces of world literature (not to mention one of the great spiritual texts of the Age) was rather daunting. So I retreated, for this piece, into Peter’s sarcasm and imagined antipathy toward his less-than-stalwart fellow apostles.

      I like the words you say about the waters of competition and strife, and our fighting to stay above them when the challenge is just the opposite. I guess the Good News, for this short passage, is that Jesus becomes the ideal applicant for us, so that we don’t have to worry about the holes in our C.V.

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