Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Both Shall Row

We're going to ring in 2009 with record-breaking cold in my neck of the woods, complete with just enough snow to make the roads dangerous to those who are not smart about drinking and driving (i.e., those who do it).

Here there is a large pot of lentil soup beginning to simmer, there are children playing with their Christmas presents, and there are plans for festivities on the town tonight. (Festivities for which we will be very, very warmly dressed.)

Beloved and I had a wonderful Christmas with my family, followed by some difficult days together. Out of respect for her privacy I will simply say that her health continues to be a concern, and your prayers are coveted.

This morning she and I met for coffee at our favorite place whilst the children slept in. We went over some papers together... she sometimes asks me, even though I know little about her business, to look over things like insurance policies with her, just for a fresh eye. At a certain point, we discussed the upcoming visit of her daughter and family (for whom the lentils simmer). Beloved is thinking about things like long term health care in the event of emergencies, and she wants me to be a part of whatever kinds of decisions might be made. (Don't fret; nothing like this is imminent. She has not received a death sentence, aside from the one we all live under.) She told me that, should it come to this, she wants me to care for her, rather than her daughter. I told her to get that in writing and witnessed by a lawyer pronto.

I am both shocked and gratified at her decision. Mostly when the concept of long-term disability enters the conversation, Beloved is of the "Get me a gun" mindset. (I am quite familiar with it, having grown up with it in my mother.) That she... trusts me, and would allow me the privilege, as complicated as that would be, well... it's significant. It is as great a statement of our mutual commitment as either of us has made.

Later, as we were finishing up our work, this song came on. Beloved told me that she wants it at her funeral. (Again, nothing either of us expects for a long time, though her health has her thinking mortal thoughts.) Like an ass, I teared up. Upon which, Beloved threw herself to the floor as if to suddenly drop dead. (She does things like this, and not just to me.) Then I began laughing, and she popped up again, bad penny that she is. "It's about us," she said.

It feels odd and yet entirely appropriate to enter this new year thinking and planning how we shall be together all our days, whether those are played out in 40 or 50 years or at some earlier point. I end this year, if anything, more grateful and more in love than I began it. I end this year stunned by the goodness of God to give me this relationship.

Give me a boat that can carry two, and both shall row... my love and I.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve

Christmas Poem

There fared a mother driven forth
Out of an inn to roam;
In the place where she was homeless
All men are at home.

The crazy stable close at hand,
With shaking timber and shifting sand,
Grew a stronger thing to abide and stand
Than the square stones of Rome.

For men are homesick in their homes,
And strangers under the sun,
And they lay their heads in a foreign land
Whenever the day is done.

Here we have battle and blazing eyes,
And chance and honour and high surprise,
But our homes are under miraculous skies
Where the yule tale was begun.

A child in a foul stable,
Where the beasts feed and foam;
Only where He was homeless
Are you and I at home;

We have hands that fashion and heads that know,
But our hearts we lost---how long ago!
In a place no chart nor ship can show
Under the sky's dome.

This world is wild as an old wife's tale,
And strange the plain things are,
The earth is enough and the air is enough
For our wonder and our war;

But our rest is as far as the fire-drake swings
And our peace is put in impossible things
Where clashed and thundered unthinkable wings
Round an incredible star.

To an open house in the evening
Home shall all men come,
To an older place than Eden
And a taller town than Rome.

To the end of the way of the wandering star,
To the things that cannot be and that are,
To the place where God was homeless
And all men are at home.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Advent 25: Ave Maria

Advent 24: O Emmanuel

O Emmanuel, king and lawgiver, desire of the nations, Savior of all people, come and set us free, Lord our God.

O come O come Emmanuel
and ransom captive Israel
that mourns in lonely exile here
until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
shall come to thee, O Israel!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Advent 23: O Rex Gentium

O King of all the nations, the only joy of every human heart; O Keystone of the mighty arch of man, come and save the creature you fashioned from the dust.

Oh, come, Desire of nations, bind
In one the hearts of all mankind;
Oh, bid our sad divisions cease,
And be yourself our King of Peace.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Advent 22: O Oriens

O Radiant Dawn, splendor of eternal light, sun of justice: come, shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.

O come thou day-spring, come and cheer Our Spirits by Thine Advent here Disperse the gloomy clouds of night And death's dark shadows put to flight. Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel Shall come to thee, O Israel.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Scenes from an Advent

She is 17 years old and has just finished her first semester at college-- away, away from home and (somewhat smothering) family. She has gotten her second or third taste of life in a different land, meaning-- the life she grew up in. She has had the privilege of singing with the college choir, music she never knew existed. A world has opened for her.

She is home again, and in her parents' somewhat formal and stuffy living room. There is an empty Christmas tree, fragrant and lovely and bare, in a stand. There are Christmas ornaments, new, old and indifferent. It is late afternoon, and the light is already fading as she winds the lights on the tree. She decorates the tree in the darkness, the sounds of a recently purchased album providing her a never-to-be-forgotten soundtrack.

Something is very ancient, and something is very new. It is almost a bridal moment, the joy she takes in the simple beauty, the way it opens her.

Advent 21: O Clavis David

O Key of David, O royal Power of Israel controlling at your will the gate of Heaven: Come, break down the prison walls of death for those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death; and lead your captive people into freedom.

O come, thou Key of David, come
and open wide our heavenly home
Bid envy, strife and quarrels cease
And be thouself our King of Peace
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Advent 20: O Radix Jesse

O Root of Jesse, rising as a sign for all the peoples, before you earthly rulers will keep silent, and nations give you honor: Come quickly to deliver us. Come, Lord Jesus.

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan's tyranny
From depths of Hell Thy people save
And give them victory o'er the grave
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Advent and Politics: Still Waiting

President-Elect Barack Obama has selected Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church, author of the Purpose-Driven publishing juggernaut, to give the invocation at the inauguration on January 20.

This might be a sign of Senator Obama's desire to be a big-tent president, welcoming the views of many as he forms policies. This might be a sign of his desire not to play politics with religion. (Alas, it could also be a sign of the very opposite.)

But it is hard, as a lesbian who remains closeted because in neither church nor state am I protected or valued, to hear this news. This man enthusiastically endorsed Proposition 8. This man compares homosexual "lifestyles" to those of pedophiles. This man uses the gospel of Jesus Christ to do harm to me and all my LGBTQ sisters and brothers.

So it is hard news to hear, that our new president, who endorsed the Defense of Marriage Act, and who opposed Proposition 8 and rode to victory on the backs of those who defeated it, is including this man, who won't include us. It is hard news.

We are still waiting.

For more, see John Shuck's post and links.

Advent 19: O Adonai

O Adonai and Leader of the house of Israel, who appearedst in the Bush of Moses in a flame of fire, and gavest him the law in Sinai: Come and deliver us with an outstretched arm.

O come O come thou Lord of might
Who to thy tribes on Sinai's height
In ancient times didst give the law
In cloud and majesty and awe.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Advent 18: O Sapientia

O Wisdom, who didst issue out of the mouth of the most High, and dost reach from one end of the world to the other, mightily and sweetly ordering all things: Come and teach us the way of prudence.

O come, thou Wisdom from on high,
Who orderest all things mightily;
To us the path of knowledge show,
And teach us in her ways to go.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Advent Correction: The Rest of the Levertov Poem

I am embarrassed. I published here (Advent 9) "Annunciation," by Denise Levertov.

Or so I thought.

I recently discovered that the website where I initially found the poem truncated it. It's "ending" was not, in fact, an ending. The poem continues. Here, nine days later, is the rest of it.

Ms. Levertov, my apologies.

This was the minute no one speaks of,
when she could still refuse.
A breath unbreathed,


She did not cry,
"I cannot, I am not worthy,"
nor "I have not the strength."
She did not submit with gritted teeth,
Bravest of all humans,
consent illumined her.
The room filled with its light,
the lily glowed in it,
and the iridescent wings.
courage unparalleled,
opened her utterly.

Advent 17: Scenes from an Advent

She had borne two children, one with emergency medical intervention and the other with a speed and violence that was terrifying. But this was the hardest birth: the waiting while he decided, to stay or to go?

She remembers driving through a December night to the home of a kind older couple, themselves veterans of a marriage's attempt to unravel, and here they were! Together still! It could be done. It could be done. It was a dinner party, two marriages almost done, and one, soldiering on.

She remembers the music that played in the car while the heater strove to give warmth against an arctic chill: Linda Ronstadt, at first coquettish, singing Irving Berlin, and then suddenly multiplied as a choir of angels, chanting Latin, breathing mystery.

She remembers driving by houses adorned for the season, the comfort she used to take in the silly displays.

She remembers the older woman nodding knowingly.

Mostly, she remembers a long conversation... months long... of which that evening was just one sentence. Mostly, she remembers: she was on her knees. Begging.

Don't go, as the heater puffed out warmth.

Don't go, as Linda chanted O Magnum Mysterium.

Don't go, pleading across the table with her eyes as the older couple looked on sadly.

It was the hardest birth, and the greatest mystery: the new life after the marriage was no more.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Advent 16: dreaming of being taken out and allowed to shine

Little tree
little silent Christmas tree
you are so little
you are more like a flower

who found you in the green forest
and were you very sorry to come away?
see i will comfort you
because you smell so sweetly

i will kiss your cool bark
and hug you safe and tight
just as your mother would,
only don't be afraid

look the spangles
that sleep all the year in a dark box
dreaming of being taken out and allowed to shine,
balls the chains red and gold the fluffy threads,

put up your little arms
and i'll give them all to you to hold
every finger shall have its ring
and there won't be a single place dark or unhappy

then when you're quite dressed
you'll stand in the window for everyone to see
and how they'll stare!
oh but you'll be very proud

and my little sister and i will take hands
and looking up at our beautiful tree
we'll dance and sing
"Noel Noel"

e. e. cummings (1874-1962)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Advent 15: Annunciation 3

By Henry Ossawa Tanner (1898)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Advent 14: Joy

16Rejoice always, 17pray without ceasing, 18give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 19Do not quench the Spirit. 20Do not despise the words of prophets, 21but test everything; hold fast to what is good; 22abstain from every form of evil.

23May the God of peace himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do this.
~ 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24

I don't know when or how it came to be that each Sunday in Advent was assigned a different "theme"-- peace, joy, hope, love. I don't even know what the "correct" order of these themes might be. But I am suspicious of anything that overly delimits the gospel (which is funny, because I do use the Revised Common Lectionary). I think these are great and wonderful themes for our remembrance of the first Advent: the birth of Jesus, who was and is the Christ, as a human baby in Bethlehem (or wherever). But I think these themes are stretched nearly to the breaking point-- especially in the first weeks of Advent-- when we consider the second Advent, the coming of Christ in power to restore peace and justice.

Joy is a tricky concept. I know that there have been times in my life when I felt no joy, when I was in mourning, or depression, or anger, or any one of a zillion different emotions. But scripturally speaking, joy can and should be immune to those human conditions. The joy of which tomorrow's 1 Thessalonians passage speaks occurs in the context of daily, breathless anticipation of that second Advent, as well as the daily realities of oppression, torture and death. In these circumstances, Paul advises, practice joy. Rejoice.

The verses immediately before the lectionary passage starts further place joy in a context of dealing with the messy realities of life in community: It asks for respect for church leaders (one can assume, they weren't getting it). It urges confrontation of those who are not pulling their weight (one can assume, it was a problem). It recognizes that not everyone is in the same place with regard to faith-- some are weak, some are faint-hearted (in honesty, maybe four days a week this describes me, and many other pastors I know and love). It states flat out that some are doing evil to others-- and forbids any attempts at payback. Nevertheless, Paul advises, practice joy. Rejoice.

In the jingle-joy mentality that is the Chri$tma$ Machine, there is no room for any of the above messy realities. Everyone is to put on their happy smiles along with their reindeer sweaters, and check the realities at the door, no struggles allowed here, thanks. Paul points us in another direction, towards a kind of joy that is deeper than fleeting emotions and circumstances. The joy we are invited to participate in has Christ as its source and its goal, with the cornerstones of prayer and gratitude anchoring it. The joy he describes is the joy of meeting God in the community, and knowing that God will be with us through the disrespect, the slacking off, the moments (or years) of doubt, and the anger.

Joy to the world, we will sing. Maybe we can describe that joy and live it in a way that doesn't feel false, but like the deepest truth suddenly uncovered.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Advent 13: Annunciation 2

The artist who created this work is John Collier, known mostly as the sculptor who created the Catholic memorial at Ground Zero. Here he creates an annunciation in a modern suburban setting, though there is traditional iconography as well: Mary is reading from Isaiah about the young woman who will conceive and bear a son; there is a lily (though, to my eye, a whimsical, slightly tongue in cheek one that looks suspiciously like it was snatched out of a sanctuary about five days after Easter).

I like this Mary better than the Roman matron. I think she was this young. I think it's good to be shocked by her youth. It's good to be shocked by the whole thing.

I also like this Gabriel, looking, for all the world, like a recent army recruit who wandered into a Christmas pageant. And what are archangels, if not warriors? Is this perhaps another reason for Mary to be scared?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Advent 12

Young Mary by Madeleine L'Engle

I know not all of that which I contain.
I'm small; I'm young; I fear the pain.
All is surprise; I am to be a mother.
That Holy Thing within me and no other
is Heaven's King whose lovely Love will reign.
My pain, his gaining my eternal gain.
My fragile body holds Creation's Light;
its smallness shelters God's unbounded might.
The angel came and gave, did not explain.
I know not all of that which I contain.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Advent 11: Annunciation 1

Annunciation, if we are to take the calendar seriously and assume nine months to the date of Christmas, is an event for the late spring, March 25. This coincides with the Jewish tradition of the anniversary of the creation. That seems quaint, perhaps, in an era in which we (some of us) measure the process of creation in millions of years. But what have we gained by not noting the anniversary of the creation?

This annunciation is from the church of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome. It is one of the oldest known depictions of the scene from Luke 1:

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. (Luke 1:26-31).

I get a strange feeling inside when I look at this image. For one, it defies my idea of annunciation as a private moment... how many angels, six that we can see? And Mary looks like a stately Roman matron, not the frightened Jewish peasant girl she must have been. The strange feeling comes, in part, from having my expectations thwarted (Welcome to Advent! Thwarting Expectations since 4 BCE!). In part, if I'm honest, it's like the feeling I get looking at old daugerreotypes or sepia-tinted photos from the 19th century. A feeling that, these people lived. And they still matter. They're still very, very real.

And who, pray tell, is the gentleman to the far right? Would that be Joseph? Looking appropriately freaked?

How can this, any of this, be?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Advent 10: The Radically Political Season

The depletion of a contemporary recognition of the radically political character of Advent is in large measure occasioned by the illiteracy of church folk about the Second Advent and, in the mainline churches, the persistent quietism of pastors, preachers, and teachers about the Second Coming. That topic has been allowed to be preempted and usurped by astrologers, sectarian quacks, and multifarious hucksters. Yet it is impossible to apprehend either Advent except through the relationship of both Advents.

-William Stringfellow

Monday, December 8, 2008

Advent Journal

Like most other things I do, I keep Advent sporadically.

I pray daily, until I don't. I think about Advent more than I observe it, if you follow my meaning.

One theme of Advent with which I resonate fully is the here/not yet here nature of the season. We await Christ who, of course, has already come (millions upon millions of times, if what Jesus said about "Where two or three are gathered..." holds true). Christ is here, and yet not yet here-- the world we live in doesn't yet live into the promised reign of peace and justice. Of course, the resonance is with my own life, with my ability to live fully in my own skin. I find that there is an "already there" aspect to my comfort with my sexuality in the congregation. I find that references to sexual orientation come more naturally in my prayers, in my sermons. I do not sweat it as I used to, fretting and worrying it to death. I actually am praying when I pray in the pulpit, and if I feel drawn by the Spirit to speak of the healing we need, I simply pray it, and it's done. And no, of course, I don't mean that gayness needs to be healed, but rather the division of the world into those who are sexual suspects and everyone else.

But I am still waiting, of course, to be fully out. The time is not here yet, I know that. I spent much of this weekend with Beloved, staying with her in her home. It is very cold here, and the snow is on the ground at last. I had to bundle up each time I left her house, to go to church on Sunday morning, to go to other church obligations over the course of the weekend. Each time I returned, I had a profound sense of both gratitude for the home that awaits me there... the freedom to be fully present to the woman I love, the freedom to be who we are together... and loss that this freedom and honesty is circumscribed by location. We can be out here, but not there. We are free in one place, and not another. The sweetness of our time together has something to do with the long spaces between those days and nights, the weeks when we cannot be together, the time when who I am must be cloaked.

I know this: when I was with Beloved this weekend, and the snow was swirling outside the windows, and we were able to share a meal I had prepared, and we were able to truly be together: that was my Christmas. That was my moment of incarnation: living fully in my flesh the connection we feel in our souls. Living into the love that God has breathed into our lives. No other celebration is necessary. The waiting is over.

Advent 9


‘Hail, space for the uncontained God’
From the Agathistos Hymn, Greece, VIc

We know the scene: the room, variously furnished,
almost always a lectern, a book; always
the tall lily.
Arrived on solemn grandeur of great wings,
the angelic ambassador, standing or hovering,
whom she acknowledges, a guest.

But we are told of meek obedience. No one mentions
The engendering Spirit
did not enter her without consent.
God waited.

She was free
to accept or to refuse, choice
integral to humanness.


Aren’t there annunciations
of one sort or another
in most lives?
Some unwillingly
undertake great destinies,
enact them in sullen pride,
More often
those moments
when roads of light and storm
open from darkness in a man or woman,
are turned away from
in dread, in a wave of weakness, in despair
and with relief.
Ordinary lives continue.
God does not smite them.
But the gates close, the pathway vanishes.


She had been a child who played, ate, slept
like any other child – but unlike others,
wept only for pity, laughed
in joy not triumph.
Compassion and intelligence
fused in her, indivisible.

Called to a destiny more momentous
than any in all of Time,
she did not quail,
only asked
a simple, 'How can this be?'
and gravely, courteously,
took to heart the angel’s reply,
perceiving instantly
the astounding ministry she was offered:

to bear in her womb
Infinite weight and lightness; to carry
in hidden, finite inwardness,
nine months of Eternity; to contain
in slender vase of being,
the sum of power –
in narrow flesh,
the sum of light.
Then bring to birth,
push out into air, a Man-child
needing, like any other,
milk and love –

but who was God.

~ Denise Levertov

Sunday, December 7, 2008

An Advent Sermon: I found God in myself...

... and I loved her
I loved her fiercely.

Ntozake Shange

This is one of the passages cited for the exquisite sermon offered today by John Shuck at Shuck and Jive. I recommend it highly.

Advent 8

My Lord what a morning,
My Lord what a morning,
My Lord what a morning,
When the stars begin to fall
You'll hear the trumpet sound,
To wake the nations underground,
Look in my God's right hand
When the stars begin to fall,
When the stars begin to fall.

My Lord what a morning,
My Lord what a morning,
My Lord what a morning,
When the stars begin to fall
You'll hear the sinner moan,
To wake the nations underground,
Look in my God's right hand
When the stars begin to fall,
When the stars begin to fall.

My Lord what a morning,
My Lord what a morning,
My Lord what a morning,
When the stars begin to fall
You'll hear the Christians shout,
To wake the nations underground,
Look in my God's right hand
When the stars begin to fall,
When the stars begin to fall

~ Traditional, Spiritual

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Advent 7: St. Nicholas

Origin of Species

by Phyllis McGinley

Saint Nicholas meeting Santa Claus

Nicholas, Bishop of Myra's See,
Was holy a saint
As a saint could be;
Saved not a bit
Of his worldly wealth
And loved to commit
Good deeds by stealth.

Was there a poor man,
Wanting a roof?
Nicholas sheltered him weatherproof.
Who lacked a morsel
Had but to ask it
And at his doorsill
Was Nicholas' basket.

0, many a basket did he carry.
Penniless girls
Whom none would marry
Used to discover to their delight,
Into their windows
Tossed at night
(When the moon was old
And the dark was showry),
Bags of gold
Enough for a dowry.

People, I read,
Grew slightly lyrical,
Calling each deed
He did, a miracle.
Told how he calmed the sea for sailors
And rescued children
From awful jailors
Who, drawing lots
For the foul design,
Liked pickling tots
In pickle brine.

Nicholas, circa
Fourth cent. A.D.,
Died in the odor of sanctity.
But fortune changes,
Blessings pass,
And look what's happened to Nicholas.

He who had feared
The world's applause,
Now, with a beard,
Is Santa Claus.
A multiplied elf, he struts and poses,
Ringing up sales
In putty noses;
With Comet and Cupid
His constant partners,
Telling tall tales to kindergart'ners,
His halo fickle as
Wind and wave.

While dizzily Nicholas
Spins in his grave.

"Origin of Species", from TIMES THREE by Phyllis McGinley, copyright 1932–1960 by Phyllis McGinley; Copyright 1938–42, 1944, 1945, 1958, 1959 by The Curtis Publishing Co.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Advent 6

Found this morning, while cleaning, in my mother's handwriting:

The soul can split the sky in two
And let the face of God shine through.

~ Edna St. Vincent Millay

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Advent 5: Scenes from an Advent

She was a young mother... her boy was no more than three years old, and he was the sum and substance of her social life. They had recently moved across the country. The women she loved-- her best friends-- were all at least a thousand miles away. So were her parents. So was her husband, truth be told... immersed in the new job, disconnected from life at home. Or so it seemed to her.

The Thanksgiving sojourn to her parents' home was just a memory. The December days dawned, and the long, dark evenings held nothing more for her than endless repeats of the videos her son currently loved. It was just the two of them, the woman and her son. They were one another's everything.

A friend from years ago had relocated to a city two hours away. It was a lifeline, and she grabbed on greedily, driving the old rear-wheel drive car through a snowy morning to get to a home full of children (she had always wanted more children), and a sympathetic woman, flushed with the excitement of graduate school. They drank tea together. They watched the children tumble in the snow, the friend's older children kindly including her son. When it was time to go, she nearly wept. She was so lonely.

On the highway, dark in the twilight, she watched as farmhouses and small communities rolled past. She could see the beginnings of Christmas lights appearing. Some displays were garish and embarrassing. Some were evocative and haunting. Everywhere strangers-- people she would never meet, living in places she would never know-- were lighting candles and lamps against the darkness. She watched as she drove into the blackness, marveling at the beauty of the incandescent bulbs. She felt an irrational gratitude towards the strangers who had so decorated their homes. It seemed the height of selflessness-- all that effort, not for themselves, but for her, a lonely stranger, clinging to her son's childhood, driving through the long night.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Advent 4

Some of us walk into Advent
tethered to our unresolved yesterdays
the pain still stabbing
the hurt still throbbing.
It's not that we don't know better;
it's just that we can't stand up anymore by ourselves.
On the way to Bethlehem,
will you give us a hand?

~ Ann Weems

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Hymn to the Virgin

Advent 3

A Hymn to the Virgin

OF on that is so fayr and bright
Velut maris stella,
Brighter than the day is light,
Parens et puella:
Ic crie to the, thou see to me,
Levedy, preye thi Sone for me,
Tam pia,
That ic mote come to thee

Al this world was for-lore
Eva peccatrice,
Tyl our Lord was y-bore
De te genetrice.
With ave it went away
Thuster nyth and comz the day
The welle springeth ut of the,

Levedy, flour of alle thing,
Rose sine spina,
Thu bere Jhesu, hevene king,
Gratia divina:
Of alle thu ber'st the pris,
Levedy, quene of paradys
Mayde milde, moder es

Monday, December 1, 2008

Advent 2

The Thread

Something is very gently,

invisibly, silently,

pulling at me-a thread

or net of threads

finer than cobweb and as

elastic. I haven't tried

the strength of it. No barbed hook

pierced and tore me. Was it

not long ago this thread

began to draw me? Or

way back? Was I

born with its knot about my

neck, a bridle? Not fear

but a stirring

of wonder makes me

catch my breath when I feel

the tug of it when I thought

it had loosened itself and gone.

~ Denise Levertov