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by Susan Russell

Malcolm Boyd was friend and colleague, priest and poet, preacher and activist. It is no exaggeration to say that his Are You Running With Me, Jesus? — published in 1965 — fed the hunger of a generation of people who had given up on the church or anyone connected with it having anything relevant to say.

While his death last month at the age of 91 was a great loss, the gift of his words continue to inspire.

And so today — as we look toward next week and the twenty-seven services that will begin at 7:00 a.m. on Palm Sunday and end at 1:00 p.m. on Easter Day — it is this poem of Malcolm’s that calls me to meditate on the week we call “holy.”

Here I am in church again, Jesus

I love it here, but, as you know, for some of the wrong reasons.
I sometimes lose myself completely in he church service
and forget the people outside whom you love.
I sometimes withdraw far, far inside myself when I am inside church,
but people looking at me can see only my pious expression
and imagine I am loving you instead of myself.

Help us, Lord,
who claim to be your special people.
Don’t let us feel privileged and selfish
because you have called us to you.
Teach us our responsibilities to you, our brother,
and to all the people out there.

Save us from the sin of loving religion instead of you.

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