a poem for/from Festival of Homiletics 2013 17th May 2013


Well. I was going to wait and start up the engine again on this space on June 1st, when I’ll officially begin my (artist-in-) residency at Downtown Presbyterian Church. More on that later — suffice to say I’ll be using the site to document the process and maybe return to a bit of my old style blogging. Although hopefully with less angst. These have been much better days and I’ve enjoyed the longer term break from online journaling.

Yesterday morning I was liturgist at a Service of Healing at First Baptist Church here in Nashville as part of the 2013 Festival of Homiletics. Nadia Bolz Weber delivered a slam dunk sermon on Mark 7:31-37.  It was joy & all-too-rare treat to be collaborating with her & I really enjoyed the experience.

I was greeted by many warm and generous folks from all over the country and around the world in the hours afterward. I sincerely mean it when I say that it was lovely to meet and hear something of your own stories.
It was also overwhelming, unexpected and uplifting.

I did not expect the great many requests I received for a copy of the poem. I spent a considerable amount of time today answering several questions I was repeatedly asked after the service – face to face and online and via email. Due to my own technological limitations, I have managed to lose that work into the ether. I feel it is slightly strange to offer the poem here without context of those answers and perhaps more importantly without the context of the liturgy it was created to accompany.

But I’ll resist the desire to control that & just leave the poem here for now for those that want it. I will update this with an audio version in the next couple of days. In another post I plan to share the text for the “quiet space” prayer that wasn’t included in the bulletin and I’ll share my answers to your questions. But first I have to write them up all over again.

In particular, I want to respond to some questions about the self description in my twitter bio — @this1littlebird — as agnostic & how that relates to liturgical space. Not because I feel any need to defend or assert that position but because I would not want anyone to assume that I wasn’t sharing the liturgy in the way liturgy is intended. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Much of my time spent on the lost writing today was given to trying to explore that experience. But I’ll come back to it on another day.

Thanks for listening. It was a real privilege to share the space & time with you. I am so glad many of you found the service to be a site of meaning-filled and meaningful experience. I did too.



You Say, “Ask and Ye Shall Receive” Like It’s Easy.
- A Litany In 12 Parts.
A leap.
A prayer.
A hand, opened.
I am asking:
which one of these, is not like the other?
The story goes like this:
To one was given oil.
Oil on hair
hair on skin.
To another was given
a touch of dirt
and a fist in the mouth
To all was given a word.
A sign.
Speech made manifest
as touch.
The honest to G-D truth of it:
I CAN’T hear you.
The story goes like this:
One was dragged through town.
Another was stolen away where they could not be seen.
And then one was pulled from the ground.
Here then is a brief and far from comprehensive account of some more commonplace miracles:
a lover, kissed
a breath, taken
an ear, cocked
a heart, surprised.
a laugh, escaped
your petition, whispered.
a woman, unselfconscious.
a confession, sobbed.
my fear, wailed.
a dream, incanted
a grief, momentarily distracted.
a memory, unclenched
The story goes:
through spit and spirit
perfume and soil:

He found his life.

She, her dignity.

And one finally heard his own laughter.

What was missing from the story:
I am not a fool.
Don’t. You. Dare.
What are you doing?
I’m not ready. I am not sure I will
ever be ready.
This hurt is all I’ve got.
I haven’t got 3 days.
Come on. Show me what you’re
made of.
I’m defeated.
I give up.
I give in.
Come in.

I am pretending I can’t hear you.
This rushing in my ears is made of
Obstinance. Shame. Pride. Madness. Failure. Refusal. Unknowing.
Begging. Terror. Yielding. Capitulation. Desperation. Hopelessness.
And still the story goes:
That a body laid down
is soon

a body rising up.
Speak. Now.
Before I change my mind.
Because let’s be honest… tomorrow
we will have do this all over again.
A leap.
A prayer.
A hand, opened.
I am asking.
Which one of these, is not like the other?


This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/3.0/.

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