If I don’t still myself I can’t welcome the birds. It is
against the backdrop of silence I hear them. Little by
little their being unfurls. First the loudest, closet to
my ear. When I release into you, relax in your arms,
beauty erupts. Flap of wing, flash and whirr, a trill
between two lovers. I hear. I don’t need to see. But
I must welcome silence first. Little by little
I become One with your Incarnation.
Sorry, but this note is a bit long.
I go to a retreat house several times a year. Sacred Heart Jesuit Retreat House is a silent house, unless there is a group retreat where the participants are encouraged to share in their workshop. However, they are still required to keep silent in the rest of the house, as well as on the grounds outside. Being that this is new for most, whispered conversations, stolen giggles or phone calls home can ring through the house without the suspects suspecting anything. One does not realize how expertly silence carries sound. I don’t mind. I understand.
But this weekend there are no groups. There are only ten of us and the silence is luscious.
Except for the birds. Oh, the birds.
I have never heard such a choir in my life. It has continued through day, except for an occasional pause allowing them to listen, along with us, to the thunderstorms.
My poem came from my wide reading so far this weekend.
Nadia Bolz Weber‘s homily at the 2015 Festival of Homiletics regarding Jesus instructing his disciples to become-child like is refreshing. Also, I so welcome her choice of referring to God as God, not Him or even Her. Thank you.
Also, informing this poem is a group that is new to me. Street Psalms makes a home in Denver and my pastor, Scott Jenkins, works with them. This quote from their e-mail scripture lesson spoke volumes to me. It is adapted from their book, Geography of Grace: Doing Theology from Below, Chapter 4, by Kris Rocke and Joel Van Dyke
“The Apostle Paul uses another metaphor to unpack the incarnation in Ephesians 2:10. “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which he prepared in advance for us to do.” The Greek word here for workmanship is poiema. For Paul, the incarnation means that “we are God’s poetry” to the world. God is speaking poetry to us and through us to the world.
It is our distinct privilege to be in community with people in hard places who live as God’s poetry in this world enfleshed in human form. Raising up poets to incarnate God’s gospel song to lost, disenfranchised, and marginalized people is a vital enterprise.”
I cannot live my spiritual life without my home base. This weekend I am reading Eknath Eswaran‘s A More Ardent Fire, bringing me back to the basics of passage meditation and discovering the path to the Way of Love and the Way of Knowing. Thanks to my meditation partner, Kathleen Gorman, for this brilliant suggestion.
Finally, I am memorizing a new passage for mediation. Who would think that this would tie everything together – even using some of the same terminology spread throughout my reading – as it was chosen first before the other readings came to me.
Ah, yes. Synchronicity.
St. Teresa of Avila:
Her heart if full of joy in love
for in the Lord her mind is still
She has renounced all selfish attachments
and draws abiding joy and strength
from the One Within.
She lives not for herself, but lives
to serve the Lord of Love in all,
and swims the sea of life
breasting its rough waves joyfully.
Here are some photos of birdies I snapped on my walks.