Saturday, December 08, 2007

I know it isn't Friday

...but here is a poem, and an Advent offering.

I’m involved in a discussion over at Buddhapalian’s, stemming from today’s Daily Office readings. Specifically, this passage from Amos:

Take away from me the noise of your songs; I will not listen to the melody of your harps. But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an everflowing stream. (Amos 5:23-24)

The call for justice and righteousness stirs me, deeply. The implication (fleshed out more, over there) that unless we walk our talk well, our worship is not acceptable, is troubling to me.

I’m sorting that out. Meanwhile, when I woke this morning, I remembered the last lines of this poem/prayer. All of it is worth sharing, in this Advent season. The lessons are all about the coming of the Kindom. We are preparing ourselves to receive anew the Christ, this tiny, helpless, squalling child who grew into full stature as human and as God. Born to Mary and as one of us, this infant was committed from before time, to the redemption of the world. The child came, to reconcile us to the One who created us. He came to teach us, to heal us, to laugh and play and work and grieve with us. To show us how to live, and to show us how to love. He stood up for those who couldn’t stand for themselves. He healed the most despised of the outcasts. He was able to be moved, when the Canaanite woman caught him in the wrong.

The Incarnation of God’s love and justice is, always and again, waiting to be born: to us, and with us, and in us.

You and I cannot become God. But we are called—commanded—to become fully human. It’s dawning on me, what an incredible grace, and responsibility, we are given.

God signs to us
we cannot read
She shouts
we take cover
She shrugs
and trains leave
the tracks

Our schedules! we moan
Our loved ones

God is fed up
All the oceans she gave us
All the fields
All the acres of steep seedful forests
And we did what
Invented the Great Chain
of Being and
the chain saw
Invented sin

God sees us now
gorging ourselves &
starving our neighbors
starving ourselves &
storing our grain
& She says

I’ve had it
you cast your trash
upon the waters—
it’s rolling in

You stuck your fine fine finger
into the mystery of life
to find death

& you did
you learned how to end
the world
in nothing flat

Now you come crying
to your mommy
Send us a miracle
Prove that you exist

Look at your hand, I say
Listen to your sacred heart
Do you have to haul the tide in
sweeten the berries on the vine

I set you down
a miracle among miracles
You want more
It’s your turn
You show me

--George Ella Lyon, included in Life Prayers. HarperSanFrancisco, 1996.


FranIAm said...

I just left a comment at Paul's and then headed over here, which is something I must do more often.

While I must admit to enjoying my snarky lefty political blog friends, I am always moved by the level of what I share on blogs that go to the places of spirit as well.

How fortunate am I to be exposed to this? That is what I call, there is no accounting for grace.

This is beautiful.

Kirstin said...

Thank you, Fran. You are always welcome here.

Paul says, "Grace abides." He's right--and grace abounds.

Paul said...

Great poem. Good discussion. Worthy stuff to wrestle with.

There is always the paradox that nothing will be good enough or holy enough for absolute standards and could always be better... BUT does God really use absolute standards when loving, except the absolute standard of love? We are told that while we were yet sinners (not hitting the mark) Christ died for us, so we know that we don't have to be perfect or right or holy. But God takes us into God's holiness, takes our death into God's life, and so we are made whole and holy in God. So we're simul justi et peccatores (Luther got some things right). So long as we remember who and whose we are, we'll come out all right.

Kirstin said...

absolute standard of love

That, I will hold on to. Thank you for sparking this discussion--and for being present with me, in it.