Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE JEW TO THE GENTILE, by SARA MESSING STERN

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE JEW TO THE GENTILE, by            
First Line: The priest bent angry gaze upon the jew
Last Line: "can bring more souls to god than all man's creed."
Subject(s): Anti-semitism; Christianity; Jews; Religious Discrimination; Judaism; Religious Conflict

THE priest bent angry gaze upon the Jew,
"What base ingratitude. Shame, shame that you
Who love the Father, should deny His Son.
Christ, Jesus, is Divine, with God is one.
His coming was foretold. His glorious birth,
A miracle, His gentle life on earth.

An inspiration and His body bled
For us, that through His death our souls be led
To God. He died for us. Oh, stiff-necked race,
Forever shall the glory of God's face
Be turned from you. Christ is the Lord. Take heed.
Confess Him and from all your sins be freed."

And swift the Jew replied: "'Christ is the Lord!'
You forced upon the world with rack and sword.
Your sins are legion. Oh, the awful moan
Of babes and mothers, maids and men and youth
Who died because they dared refuse the truth
You claimed. For these things how can you atone,
How ease your burdened conscience, how forget
The needless misery you caused?

"And yet
Although you maimed us with the scourge and flame
And tortured and reviled us 'in His name';
We reach our arms in friendliness to you
And plead for peace. We are God's children, too,
Have known the love and mercy in the Face
He turned to us, His priests and chosen race,
'Acknowledge Christ,' you say, 'and save your soul.
Confess our creed. This is the only toll
Required to enter heaven and from sin
Be freed.' 'Serve thou no other God but Me
And love your fellowmen.' This is our key
To life. We love the Father, He is One.
We need no mediator. 'Christ, the Son,'
Was but God's child like all of us. His kin,
The atheist, agnostic, Jew and Turk
And Christian. And his equal, all who shirk
No sacrifice for fellowmen. Some may
Not hold like creed with you. For one will say
He worships Reason. One doubts Christ is King.
One calls God, allah. Does that matter? Fling
Afar your doctrine. Cast aside your fears,
Seek out the weeping ones and dry their tears.
The sick, the halt, the sinner and the blind,
Oh, pity them and love them and be kind.
For, after all, the helpful human deed
By Christian, Turk or Jew to one in need
Can bring more souls to God than all man's creed."

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