The Quest for the Mythical Jesus

by Paul Hooker

He comes to us as One unknown, without a name, as of old, beside the lake….
—Albert Schweitzer, The Quest for the Historical Jesus

He comes to us.
We know his name.
It is the cause célèbre of the day—
we brook no opposition, are assured of
the purity of our own righteousness.
‘Tis the hour of the advocate, the true believer.
We believe. No room for doubt.

He comes to us.
We know the question.
It is Pilate’s query, writ anew:
What is justice? (Let alone, what truth?)
The answer on the lips is passion’s howl.
The time for talk is done: the streets are ours.
We march. No time for waiting.

He comes to us.
We know the story.
It is the fantasy of resurrection:
a managed little death, and then tomorrow
stones roll aside and we emerge unscathed
to build proud towers that will touch the sky.
We are kin. No king in “kin-dom.”

He comes to us.
We do not recognize him.
He is the eternal watcher on the shore
beside the lake, his mystery unguessed,
while we flail the water with empty nets.
His kingdom is not here. He weeps because
he knows no life but dying.