Saturday, November 21, 2009

Mary Oliver, Anne Lamott & Evensong

Last week after three years of working at Grace Cathedral for the first time with much anxiety I officiated at Evensong. Those men and boys are very intimidating. Having grown up in a household that didn't sing much and a church that didn't chant ever - I don't think I was so horrible. I should have practiced more, I hope I'll get other opportunities because with Matt's help I actually began to see the joy in doing it.

For the said prayers at Evensong a book literally fell off my office shelf an hour or so before the service. I flipped through "Thirst" a book of poems by Mary Oliver and the two below felt just right for the week before Thanksgiving, and the approaching season of Advent. Here they are, feel free to "read, mark, and inwardly digest them." Anne Lamott tonight in her reading at a Welcome event I attended called Mary Oliver divine, I agree with her.

Making the House Ready for the Lord

Dear Lord, I have swept and I have washed but
Still nothing is as shining as it should be
for you.  Under the sink, for example, is an

uproar of mice—it is the season of their
many children.  What shall I do?  And under the eaves

and through the walls the squirrels
have gnawed their ragged entrances—but it is the season

when they need shelter, so what shall I do?  And
the raccoon limps into the kitchen and opens the cupboard

while the dog snores, the cat hugs the pillow;
what shall I do?  Beautiful is the new snow falling

in the yard and the fox who is staring boldly
up the path, to the door.  And still I believe you will

come, Lord: you will, when I speak to the fox
the sparrow, the lost dog, the shivering sea-goose, know

that really I am speaking to you whenever I say,
as I do all morning and afternoon:  Come in, Come in.


It doesn't have to be
the blue iris, it could be
weeds in a vacant lot, or a few
small stones; just
pay attention, then patch

a few words together and don't try
to make them elaborate, this isn't
a contest but the doorway

into thanks, and a silence in which
another voice may speak.

~ Mary Oliver ~

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