Wednesday, December 07, 2011

What to Remember When Waking: a poetic opening into Incarnation

I’ve been sitting for the last two months with a poem by David Whyte (What to remember when waking). My supervisor gave it to me, first in response to some prayers I was writing: short tweets type prayers as I sought to turn into prayer my first waking moments. Like these:

Gentle patter of falling rain is a healing, relational gesture. God help me treasure your active participation in the world today.

Mist, a mystery, gently striding the hills, a humble quest suggested. God, courage please, for every question in that quest today.

Sparrows you flit, in effortless flight, through God’s wide world. Today, God may I share in playful participative play.

My supervisor connected my prayers with the first line of the first verse:

In that first hardly noticed moment in which you wake

As I say with it, it began to provide a way to pray as I considered the Principal role, especially the last verse:

What shape waits in the seed of you
to grow and spread its branches
against a future sky?

Then, as we have moved into December, into Advent, as I’ve been pondering the Christmas message, the 3rd verse has become significant.

To be human is to become visible
while carrying what is hidden as a gift to others.
To remember the other world in this world
is to live in your true inheritance.

It suggests a way of understanding Incarnation, God-in-flesh. God choosing to become visible in Christ, Christ carrying a gift of love to others, a gift not from this world, but from the Eternal, a gift defined not by these world’s values, but from the life and love of God.

It’s amazing how a poem can live on, find increasing depth, resonate with different parts of my life. Anyhow, for those interested here’s the poem, offered in the sense it might be useful to others in this Advent season.

Posted by steve at 10:08 PM

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