Tobacconist Theology, Part Four: Burnt Offering

The late great Princeton-trained theologian M.B. Jackson, who happened to be my religious studies professor in college, was a daily pipe smoker. Whenever he would give our class a test, he would excuse himself to the front steps of the building by saying, “If anyone needs me, I’ll be outside sending up a burnt offering.”

I thought it a clever joke then. Now I believe he meant it.
I have pondered the interesting parallels between our sanctification and the making, preparing, and smoking of a good cigar. Dr. Jackson’s witticism has inspired this bit of free-form verse:

With a gentle violence
I am fashioned for your pleasure.
Like Abraham, I am cut.
Like Isaiah, I am burned.
Like Job, I am given breath.
In this needful destruction
I find the joy and purpose of my making.

I am drawn.

Grown to the fullness of time,
I have been cut down, splayed out, hung up.
And brought to life again in your hands.
Open, aflame, filled with your spirit,
Coaxed and cradled, the overflow of my life
Is but the incense of yours.

I am a burnt offering.