The Sovereign Couple


At yesterday’s Festival of Homiletics, I heard Willie James Jennings speak at the workshop, “Speaking Words Against Whiteness: Remapping the Message of Reconciliation.”

In that workshop he spoke about “The Sovereign Couple” in Ananias and Saphira. As a Missioner and a wanderer in the West Don in 2009, I gathered a group of artists, poets, actors in what was then called the Old Town ARTbeat. In one of our gatherings, we put together an exhibit:

Salon 3X3 poster

and the poet, Ann Elizabeth Carson, wrote the following poem:

Testing the Spirit

by Ann Elizabeth Carson

(In response to “Saphira”)

You were “privy to his plan”, agreed

to keep

a portion of the proceeds promised to God

Money for a poor crop, a rainy day? —

(I’ve done that, fudged the grocery money

a dollar here and there, every day, week by

week —

for an emergency, a special dinner, new glasses,

a birthday gift for the one I love,

or to get ahead just enough to feel secure.)

Or was it that God’s law seemed unfair?

To give

all the proceeds to the church, thinking,

“Who would miss so small a portion

who has so much compared to us?”

It is said that the heart and mind of the


beat as one.

Was yours a promise or an expectation?

Given freely? Or did women routinely

go along with their husbands, who voted as


representatives in the earthly family, assigning

how to manage their commitment to wives

and daughters? Your upraised arm

in fear of whose reprisal? His? Neighbours?

Your own

foreknowledge of the lies? Or did you see

– too late – that your lie alone would strike

a fatal blow

About macconlon

Artist, activist, community organizer now working as a Community Minister for the Davenport Perth Community Ministry of the Shining Waters Region of the United Church of Canada.
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