From a Protestant background not unlike my own, Updike's comments on religion have always been interesting to me. He wrote this within a month of his death, after he'd been given bad news about his cancer.
By John Updike
Why go to Sunday school, though surlily,
and not believe a bit of what was taught?
The desert shepherds in their scratchy robes
undoubtedly existed, and Israel’s defeats-
the Temple in its sacredness destroyed
by Babylon and Rome. Yet Jews kept faith
and passed the prayers, the crabbed rites,
from table to table as Christians mocked.
We mocked, but took. The timbrel creed of praise
gives spirit to the daily; blood tinges lips.
The tongue reposes in papyrus pleas,
saying, Surely - magnificent, that “surely”-
goodness and mercy shall follow me all
the days of my life, my life, forever.
Written December 22, 2008 - shortly before his death
Causes Kevin Arnold Supports
Poetry Center San Jose, East Palo Alto Police Activities League (EPA PAL), Squaw Valley Community of Writers, Yale Writing Conference, Gold Rush Writers