“Again the devil carried him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory, and he said to him, “I will give you all these things if you fall down and you worship me.”

The Gospel of Matthew 4:8-9, from The New Testament: A Translation for Latter-day Saints, by Thomas A. Wayment
  1. Then Jesus took the offer, but he hedged and said, “Give me only a single tower, a place of respite during my ministry of sorrows.”
  2. And Lucifer said, “But let it be a grand tower, an enthralling campanile overlooking Jerusalem, from which you can behold and teach the throngs.” And Jesus, breathing a thirsty breath, took the offer.
  3. When he returned from the wilderness, he amassed followers and established his movement,
  4. And Jesus taught with parables and worked miracles; he healed and blessed, and drank deep the wine of his own make.
  5. When the affronted high priests came to arrest the Christ, Peter cut off the ear of their most eager servant.
  6. And then Jesus took the knife from Peter, and he cut off the servant’s other ear.
  7. Then the throng brought the Christ before Pilate, and Pilate would have pardoned him, but Jesus would not be pardoned, saying, “Nobody knows this system better than me. I alone can fix it.”
  8. And they crucified him as he smiled.
  9. Both followers and enemies rolled stones in front of and away from tombs; they produced or hid away prized remains;
  10. Verily, the conspiracy theorists buried, raised, and buried Christ Jesus again, seventy times seven—as ever flows the tide of public opinion.
  11. And Saul of Tarsus took no interest, having fallen in love with another, and found themself much too contented to ever write letters.
  12. Next Peter, the killer of partial tithe payers, died in prison after being sentenced for tax fraud.
  13. In due course, Rome warmed its bed with a different religion—one dedicated to putting down all renaissances.
  14. Moreover, Columbus never sailed to the Americas; someone worse did, and did much worse—mightily worse.
  15. And the restored Church of Jesus Christ arose, with its guns and bowie knives, wielded by its whistling and whittling Far West Legion, clad in their exceedingly fine uniforms. For a respite, they ventured west and dedicated the Salt Lake Temple by saying, “It’s a good temple, a bit small by our standards, but charming in a quaint country cabin sort of way.”
  16. In the spirit world, Jesus’s Mary wept and wondered, for she kept much unheard wisdom in her heart.
  17. At last, old Gethsemane withered and perished, lacking for anyone to pray within its embrace, and nourish its roots through their reverent bleeding.
  18. But as it always comes to pass, every empire fell in the end;
  19. Verily, even as the universe will fall during some distant final moment of time, when the last smoke whiff, from the last burnt-out candle, will dissipate into massless photons—all things still, forever.

Poet’s Notes:

This prose poem is the product of Lenten meditation. I wrote the initial draft immediately after attending an online meditation hosted by the Community of Christ for people celebrating Lent. Thank you for reading. Your reactions are welcome in the comments section below.