Vast whisp-whisp of wingbeats
awakens me and I look up
at a minute-long string of black geese
following low past the moon the white
course of the snow-covered river and
by the way thank You for
keeping Your face hidden, I
can hardly bear the beauty of this world
~Franz Wright from “Cloudless Snowfall”
A psalm of geese
cajoling each other
The din grew immense.
No need to look up.
All you had to do
was sit in the sound
and put it down
as best you could…
It’s not a lonesome sound
but a panic,
a calling out to the others
to see if they’re there…
~Dermot Healy from A Fool’s Errand
Hear my prayer, Lord;
let my cry for help come to you.
Do not hide Your face from me in the day of my distress;
Incline Your ear to me;
In the day when I call answer me quickly.
We are here to witness the creation and abet it.
We are here to notice each thing so each thing gets noticed. Together we notice not only each mountain shadow
and each stone on the beach but, especially,
we notice the beautiful faces and complex natures of each other.
We are here to bring to consciousness the beauty and power that are around us and to praise the people who are here with us.
We witness our generation and our times.
We watch the weather.
Otherwise, creation would be playing to an empty house.
~Annie Dillard from The Meaning of Life edited by David Friend
We tend to keep our faces hidden from each other, even when we want to be recognized and known, especially when we are distressed.
What someone tells me about what they are feeling may not always match what I notice: trembling hands, a deep sigh, eyes filling with tears. I am audience and witness to their burden and struggle; even more, I am called to listen, offering them the gift of being noticed and being there for them, just them, at that moment.
I know this because it is how God cares for me: when I call out to Him, sometimes in a panic to see if He is there, I know I am not playing or praying to an empty house. God is ready and listening, loving us enough to show us His face in the form of a helpless infant.
This is a God who allows Himself to be vulnerable to those He loves, whether laid to sleep in a wooden manager or dying nailed to a tree.
He calls out to us to see if we are there, ready to listen.
Psalm 102: 1 Hear my prayer, Lord; let my cry for help come to you.
This year’s Barnstorming Advent theme “… the Beginning shall remind us of the End” is taken from the final lines in T.S. Eliot’s poem “The Cultivation of Christmas Trees”
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