Well, friends, 2021 is off to quite a start, isn’t it? I am afraid to say we have nowhere to go but up. I’ve thought that too many times as of late only to be proven wrong. As I write this, I am worried about what will happen on January 20. I am worried about the increasing numbers of COVID cases and the mounting death toll. I am worried about the economic impacts of the pandemic. In short: I am worried. I know Jesus says, “Fear not” and “Be not anxious” but I can’t seem to help running through lists of concerns when I try to go to sleep at night and often when I get up the next morning. In those moments when my mind will not turn off and catastrophic thinking wants to take over, I attempt to tell myself to stop, breathe, pray. I try, in the words of Brother Lawrence, to practice the presence of God.
I suppose one blessing of this long season of upheaval has been the revelation that I must maintain a disciplined prayer life and engage in ongoing spiritual practices. These things are not good to do if I have time, they are essential to my well-being and my ability to be useful to others. Hence, I have not only been utilizing familiar resources, but exploring new ones, too.
As of late I have discovered a Jewish writer, Alden Solovy. His latest book is titled, This Precious Life, Encountering the Divine with Poetry and Prayer. He writes this in his introduction to the book, “You’ll be asked to find the ethics in your eyes, the ethics in your hands, the ethics in your arms, and the ethics in your heart. You’ll experience the Divine in the poetry of living.” This seems like a good word for such a time as this. We are called to find our embodied ethics and experience God in the poetry of living, messy and difficult as that may be right now.
This morning I read his poem, “The Broken Sky.” I found it helpful given our current reality, so I share it here in the hope it helps you, too.
Look beyond the broken sky,
Cracked by a blaze of sorrow,
To the edge of the universe,
Where stars dance in endless spirals.
There is nothing as small as an angry mind,
And nothing so large as forgiveness.
There is nothing as wild as breathless love,
And nothing as free as your soul.
Look beyond the life you know.
Yearning for signs of truth,
To the gleaming edge of faith itself,
Where holiness sings to the willing heart.
May our hearts hear the singing of the holy and may we, and the entire world, join the song.
Grace and peace,