The Follower

by Mike (Binary Rhyme) Heffernan, 1977

The Follower.mp3
Listen My People
Standing here by an open doorway
watching the man on the stage
and his hands reach up to heaven
and he screams out “Jesus Saves!”
and his hands were held aloft
the glitter of his diamond caught my eye
and he said “Won’t you come and follow me?”
I said, “No thanks, I’d rather you let me be.”

Then I met a man dressed quite poorly
reading a holy book
he knew the laws and scriptures
every teaching and every word
and he followed every rule
said if I didn’t – I’d be the fool
and he said “Won’t you come and follow me?”
put his point of view, I really couldn’t see

Then I saw a man
kneeling in muddy water
and above him stood the man called John
protesting the present situation
and I saw him in the temple
driving the hucksters from the church
and I saw him with the Priests and Scribes
telling them what he thought of all their laws

Then I met him on the street
and his eyes met mine
you could see the Love he had for man

Then I met him on the road
to the place of his death
and the crowd him laughed
and they hit him on the head
and a guard came up to me
he said, “Help him with his cross.
You will bear it to the place of the skull.”
So we marched on to Calvary…
we marched on to Calvary.

… and as I walked with the man that I admired
the blood streamed down his back
from the thorns that crowned him King
and in his eyes I saw I once again
the love for man I noticed
on a street in Galilee
and he said, “Follow me!”

I’ll never follow a Preacher
I’ll never follow a Teacher
but I’ll follow the man…
I’ll follow the man…
I’ll follow the man with perfect Love.

The Follower was a tune I wrote for Passion Sunday. It was performed as a meditation every year for the seventeen years I was leading choirs. The move toward inclusive language in the church hadn’t really taken hold at the time this was written… but I have faith in the inclusive power of metaphor and imagination.

Ink Drawing: Was done for the cover of a single, “Listen My People,” by the St. John the Apostle Choir in 1981.