Sunday, December 21, 2008

An Advent Litany

One of the great joys of finishing the semester is that I am no longer chapters and chapters behind in my reading. Which means that I have time for "fun" reading (which is more often than not, theological - but on my own timeline!) and a chance to devote more time to things around the house. I never thought I'd see the day when I was glad to have time for housework!

In any event, it also gave me time to revisit some bits of writing that had been sitting around collecting dust. Dual purpose, really - the one I've just been working on will serve as devotions for my CPE group work this week. Hurray for meeting multiple needs with one project! In the spirit of Advent, the season of waiting, I offer the following poem/litany, inspired by women of scripture. Feel free to use, with attribution, for non-commercial purposes. Blessings to you, and safe travels -

"...let every girl live" (Exodus 1:22b)

Mouthing soundless prayer
we weep for unborn children of love
laughing against the passing years
we wait

(Sarah and Hagar)
Making bitter choices
unknown to those secure in body and heart
lamenting mother-child cast out to desert death
we wait

(Shiphrah and Puah)
With power-defying stealth and wit
trying to save them all
casting hope with a river-drifting babe
we wait

Governing the people
witness to thoughtless disobedience
longing for growth and wisdom
we wait

(Ruth and Naomi)
Choosing relations among those
who share no ancestral blood
making heart-kin for survival
we wait

(Mary and Elizabeth)
Loving the impossible
strength growing within us
daring to hope in the promise
we wait

(The Unnamed)
Beside these women
our spirits speak endlessly
striving with the One who gave birth
and we wait

Sunday, April 27, 2008

snippets from nowhere

Internship at First Church Somewhere-in-the-Midwest continues to go well. I'm sad to say that my last day there is May 18, although I'm currently angling for more preaching gigs when that's done. I have become addicted to preaching, as it turns out.

As I was procrastinating my way around another writing assignment, I found a poem nudging its way out of my brain. I share the current draft of it here, and welcome your responses -

I used to walk towards Galilee
with my father on a weekend day

The sand smooth as glass –
skimcoat water
reflecting bluest sky
a scallop shell splitting
the backflow!

ready for the growing pile in my bucket
stormcloud grey round stone
bumping on purple childhood wampum
sharpedge broken mussel and
a discarded (?) hermit crab hotel

there in sparkle wave-roar
seagulls clamoring to join the party

and joyful space of being me

there, too is God.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

After a long journey...

I am back. 2007 was a most interesting year, and I do not care to recount nor repeat the medical adventures therein. The short update:
  • my health seems to be on the mend (in all the varied senses of the word "health")
  • my house is just as messy as ever
  • my bookshelves are fuller, and I've even read some of the books already!
The internship at First-Church-somewhere-in-the-midwest is simply lovely, I've been preaching lots, and one of the fruits of that experience I bring to you. In honor of Epiphany, from T.S. Eliot's poem, "Journey of the Magi":
'A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a journey:
The ways deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter.'
And the camels galled, sore-footed, refractory,
Lying down in the melting snow.
There were times we regretted
The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces,
And the silken girls bringing sherbet.

Then the camel men cursing and grumbling
And running away, and wanting their liquor and women,
And the night-fires going out, and the lack of shelters,
And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly
And the villages dirty and charging high prices:
A hard time we had of it.

At the end we preferred to travel all night,
Sleeping in snatches,
With the voices singing in our ears, saying
That this was all folly.
It doesn't sound particularly joyful, but don't let it fool you. Once you get past all those miles on camelback, and an audience with ruthless King Herod, things started looking up. Read the story (Mt 2:1-12 - especially vs 11), and then ask yourself a question: What if your gift to the child, before all others, was holy foolishness, a scavenger hunt en route to overwhelming joy?