It doesn’t have to be
the blue iris, it could be
weeds in a vacant lot, or a few
small stones; just pay attention, then patch
a few words together and don’t try
to make them elaborate, this isn’t
a contest but the doorway
into thanks, and a silence in which
another voice may speak.
So we’ll live, and sing, and tell old tales, and laugh
At gilded butterflies…
And take upon’s the mystery of things,
As if we were God’s spies.
Over the swinging parapet of my arm
your sentinel eyes lean gazing. Hugely alert
on the pale unfinished clay of your infant face,
they drink light from this candle on the tree.
Drinking, not pondering, each bright thing you see,
you make it yours without analysis
and, stopping down the aperture of thought
to a fine pinhole, you are filled with flame.
Give me for Christmas, then, your kind of seeing,
not studying candles – angel, manger, star – but staring as at a portrait, God’s I guess,
that shocks and holds the eye, till all my being,
gathered, intent and still, now you are ,
breathes out it’s wonder in a wordless yes.
– John V Taylor
Not sure of the actual title.
Prayer is like watching for the
Kingfisher. All you can do is
Be there where he is likely to appear, and
Often, nothing much happens;
There is space, silence, and expectancy.
No visible sign, only the
Knowledge that he’s been there,
And may come again.
Seeing or not seeing cease to matter,
You have been prepared.
But sometimes, when you’ve almost
Stopped expecting it,
A flash of brightness
– Ann Lewin, “Candles and Kingfishers”, quoted in Lost In Wonder , Esther de Waal, without title.
Moses understands, as do the prophets after him, that being in the land poses for Israel a conflict between two economic systems, each of which views the land differently. On the one hand, the land is regarded as property and possession to be bought and sold and traded and used. On the other hand, in a context of covenant, the land is a birthright and an inheritance, one’s own land as a subset of the larger inheritance of the whole people of God. If the land is possession, then the proper way of life is to acquire more. If the land is inheritance, then the proper way of life is to enhance the neighborhood and the extended family so that all members may enjoy the good produce of the land.
– Walter Breuggemann, in Sabbath As Resistance.
Land as inheritance versus land as possession. Commodity versus covenant. Think Wendell Berry. This is the one perspective the environmental movement has right. Then, of course, they immediately begin advocating for state controls over property in order to impose, by law, the right spiritual perspective.
I do feel this lack every day: the lack of a home, in the form of a patch of land inherited from my family with the marks everywhere of my ancestors’ work. A farm, I suppose, which is nothing but a worked garden. Land with real trees and a wet stream and fields moving in real winds. Modernity needs mobility. And the price is home.
“God-making” amid anxiety is a standard human procedure!”
– Walter Breuggemann, in Sabbath As Resistance
“Prosperity breeds amnesia.”
– Walter Brueggemann, in Sabbath As Resistance