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Wednesday, October 6, 2004

The Question of the Stranger

Of all that was done in the past,

you eat the fruit either rotten or ripe.

And the Church must be forever building,

and always decaying and always being restored.

For where there is no Temple there shall be no homes,

though you have shelters and institutions.

What life have you if you have not life together?

There is no life that is not in community.

And no community not lived in praise of God.

But now you live dispersed on ribbon roads,

And no one knows or cares who is his neighbor

Unless his neighbor makes too much disturbance,

But dash to and fro in motor cars,

Familiar with the roads and settled nowhere.

And the wind shall say, "Here were decent godless people;

Their only monument the asphalt road

And a thousand lost golf balls."

When the Stranger says,

What is the meaning of this city?

Do you huddle together because you love each other?

What will you answer? --

'We all dwell together to make money from each other'?

or 'This is a community'?

And the stranger will depart and return to the desert.

O My soul, be prepared for the coming of the Stranger,

Be prepared for him who knows how to ask questions.

from The Rock by T.S. Eliot

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