I was the only usher here
inside our little church.
The sermon was just starting and
for truth, we'd always search.
Now everything was normal there
right up to and until,
the door creaked slowly open and
we all grew very still.
In pastor's long mid-sentence, the
strange silence first began,
for standing in the doorway was
a poor and filthy man.
Appeared, he did, atrocious there
and homeless quite awhile,
with clothes severely tattered, but
I staged a phony smile.
Now everyone had noticed him -
and not just quite a few.
so ushered him, I quickly to,
the end of nearest pew.
As if there were a final drop
of coffee in each cup,
all heads were tipped a-way, way back
with noses sticking up.
Now pride was quite a problem back
since Adam and since Eve
and even today's Christians who
may claim that they believe.
Continued then, the pastor did
and when was said and done,
we wanted to leave quickly but
the nervousness begun.
It happened, as you may have guessed,
the filthy man had stood.
He then walked down the empty aisle.
It didn't look too good.
Each member there stood silent and
embarrassed, froze, aghast -
for all eyes were upon him as
the filthy man walked past.
Not knowing what to expect next
with pastor silent too,
all time came to a stand still as
he walked past ev'ry pew.
Right to the front of church he walked
when there he seemed to freeze.
A moment later just collapsed...
right down on dirty knees.
The congregation was so stunned
as he confessed it all.
His prayer was for repentance and
to God we heard him call.
Now no one spoke and no one moved
until a small girl came -
and knelt down right beside him there.
Then all was not the same.
An old man also quickly came
and asked forgiveness too.
And even I came to the front
with others just like you.
Now maybe love had tugged our hearts,
or it was by design -
but seen, a single dry eye? No,
and those included mine.
It wasn't long before we all -
the children, women, men -
all us who held our noses high,
became humbled again.
It took a poor and filthy man
to open up our eyes
and wash our filthy hearts again
with humble, humble cries.
This poem won second place for the February 2019 poetry contest