Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Who made the world?

'The world is charged with the grandeur of God'
Gerard Manley Hopkins

This past weekend, I led a retreat at our guesthouse titled Reading the Sacred in Creation. Preparing beforehand, I pulled together a great deal of source material for both my own relfection and (hopefully) that of the retreatants--Scripture, saints, and spiritual authors. More importantly, the point of the retreat was to actually read God's Word in Creation itself to guide us toward joining together in singing nature's continuous hymn of thanks and praise to the Creator of all.

This morning, I ran across these pieces by the poet Mary Oliver. They would have been perfect for the retreat. Since that moment has passed, I thought I'd post them here:

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?

This grasshopper, I mean--
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth
instead of up and down--
who is gazing around with her
enormous and complicated eyes.

Now she lifts her pale forearms
and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.

I don't know what a prayer is.
I do not know how to pay attention,
how to fall down into the grass,
how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed,
how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.

Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?

Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with you one wild and precious life?

-- Mary Oliver, The Summer Day

 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, Praying

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