Sermon Notes Poetry: Psalm 47

I didn't write much this time. Three poems. Two worth sharing. Here they are. An odd kind of sermon notes...

Psalm 47

All nations
see you rain on the mountains,
the rivers filled with
children of Israel,
Egypt, Babylon.
Fathers called Abraham
and not called Abraham, clamor,
and the rocks cry out
as the nations trek white-robed, palm-fisted
to the crown of the mountain
where our mothers promised
to meet us.


Go leaf-keeping
this week,
turn Autumn
on end.
See if you don't
find God
right there, rough-cool
between your fingers,

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Reflections Dance

Pound Ridge Reflections 3

Yesterday I danced.

It had been a long time.

Maybe you couldn't call what I did dancing. My ankles are still stiff, my muscles weak compared to what they were. But I looked in the mirror and my reflection moved and somehow it felt like the beginning of a dance.

At times, I sat on the floor and waited. For my self to catch up. My mind, my body, my hope.

The teacher smiled and said it was okay. I was there, and it was okay. "Be gentle on yourself," she said.

I wanted to tell the whole room (it was fuller than it had ever been)... "Really, I haven't always been this way. I'm not a dancer, to be sure, but I used to be able to move through a whole class." I wanted them to know I belonged there. I wanted to be more than a suggestion of what is real and good.

For some reason, my mind turned to the Chilean miners. I thought of them coming to light. I wondered if they'd both remembered and forgotten what it was like to see by day. I wondered if they felt the need to belong again to the world, if they felt the need to say, "I am real and good."

That is such an odd connection. I don't know why I made it. Something about a return after months. Something about both forgetting and remembering. Something about shadows and reflections. Maybe it is the whole Plato's Cave thing. The real, dancing in shadows on the wall. The wondering if we are the shadows or the real or both.

Words are escaping me on this. I want to say I am both— the dance and the reflection of the dance. The shadow and the real. I want to say that both are beautiful. Just see for yourself...

Pound Ridge Reflections 5

Pound Ridge Reflections 4

Pound Ridge Reflections 1

Pound Ridge Reflections 2

Pound Ridge Reflections photos, by L.L. Barkat. In honor of Claire's HighCalling PhotoPlay.

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Start with Spam, End with a Rosary


They gave me gifts.

It started with crowned Spam, in a lovely box that smelled like soap. (Yes, Mr. Airport Searcher, there IS a story behind that.) Other things followed. Stone, paper, ceramic, wax.

Then, on the final day, one of our team members gave me his rosary. When he pulled it out of his pocket and moved it towards me, I understood immediately what was happening. Before he could get a word out, I burst into tears. This rosary, it was made by his own hands. It was, as he told me later, the most important thing he had that he could give me.

What do you do with jade and chocolate stone beads, a silver cross on a sturdy brown string? What do you do with a line of prayers that have been someone else's? (He told me what each bead had meant to him. There were people, and the Shema, and other things I didn't hear because I was just looking, looking at this thing he'd put into my hands.)

The rosary now sits on my white wooden window sill. I told him yesterday I think it is (was) how he sees, or maybe touches, God. Bead by bead by bead, hoping along the way.

There are days when I think I see and touch God too. And days when I feel the world is nothing, watched by No One.

But now I have a rosary touched by prayers, through which I can hope along the way. It is waiting for new people and maybe a Psalm. It is waiting for me.

Me and My Friend and His Rosary photo, by L.L. Barkat.

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