Open Mind by Wilco
by word or wall;
power of love
beyond all rulers of war:
lift us from dullness
and cynical contempt;
make us ready for your Spirit
of transforming fire
and turn our hearts
to the mending of the world;
by Marilyn Nelson
of a four-year-old dying of cancer.
I saw her on t.v. and wept
with my mouth full of meatloaf.
I constantly flash on disasters now;
red lights shout Warning. Danger.
everywhere I look.
I buckle him in, but what if a car
with a grille like a sharkbite
roared up out of the road?
I feed him square meals
but what if the fist of his heart
should simply fall open?
I carried him safely
as long as I could,
but now he’s a runaway
on the dangerous highway.
I’ve started to pray.
But the dangerous highway
curves through blue evenings
when I hold his yielding hand
and snip his miniscule nails
with my vicious-looking scissors.
I carry him around
and I remember a porcelain fawn,
a best friend’s trust,
my broken faith in myself.
It’s not my grace that keeps me erect
as the sidewalk clatters downhill
under my rollerskate wheels.
Sometimes I lie awake
troubled by this thought:
It’s not so simple to give a child birth;
you also have to give it death,
the jealous fairy’s christening gift.
I’ve always pictured my own death
as a closed door,
a black room,
a breathless leap from the mountain top
with time to throw out my arms, lift my head,
and see, in the instant my heart stops,
a whole galaxy of blue.
I imagined I’d forget,
in the cessation of feeling,
while the guilt of my lifetime floated away
like a nylon nightgown,
and that I’d fall into clean, fresh forgiveness.
Ah, but the death I’ve given away
is more mine than the one I’ve kept:
from my hand the poisoned apple,
from my bow the mistletoe dart.
Then I think of Mama,
her bountiful breasts.
When I was a child, I really swear,
Mama’s kisses could heal.
I remember her promise,
and whisper it over my sweet son’s sleep:
When you float to the bottom, child,
like a mote down a sunbeam,
you’ll see me from a trillion miles away:
my eyes looking up to you,
my arms outstretched for you like night.
Someone once said we were put on this earth to witness and testify
by Quan Barry
does it specifically state Thou shall not [ ]
but sometimes tradition carries more weight than law
and so for much of the past year we have not talked
about what will happen on Thursday, how the cervix
will start its slow yawn, the pelvic floor straining
as the head crowns, the fontanelles allowing
the bony panes of the skull to pass through
until, over the next 24 months, the five cranial plates
gradually ossify, the head forming its own helmet
as structures harden over the soft meats of the brain,
nor do we talk about the colostrum sunny as egg yolks
now collecting in your breasts, the thing’s first nutrients
already ready and waiting, the event just days away
and still we do not talk about it, the mass growing inside you
tucked up safe in the leeward side under the heart
because sometimes our god is a jealous god, the evil eye
lidless and all-seeing. Instead we will wait until it is done,
until the creature has been cleaned and wrapped in soft cloth,
the bloody cord that binds you severed. And maybe
you will name it Dolores, which means grief,
or perhaps you will call it Mara, the Hebrew name for bitterness
because this is how we protect what we love,
by hiding what it truly means to us, the little bag of gold
we keep buried in the yard, the thing we will do anything
to keep safe, even going so far as to pretend
it doesn’t exist, that there’s nothing massing in the dark
despite the steady light emanating from your face, a radiance
so bright sometimes I can’t look at you, the joy so overpowering
you want to shout it from the highest mountaintop
straight into God’s ear.
Jesus said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the Law from Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures. He said to them, “This is what is written: the Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and a change of heart and life for the forgiveness of sins must be preached in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. Look, I’m sending to you what Abba God promised, but you are to stay in the city until you have been furnished with heavenly power.”
He led them out as far as Bethany, where he lifted his hands and blessed them. As he blessed them, he left them and was taken up to heaven. They worshipped him and returned to Jerusalem overwhelmed with joy. And they were continuously in the temple praising God.
Witness by Zola Jesus
Now I Lay Prayer
by unknown, adapted
Tonight when we lay down to sleep,
we pray the Lord our souls to keep.
May angels watch us through the night,
and keep us in their blessed sight.
When in the morning light we wake,
show us the path of love to take.
The Lord’s Prayer
God in heaven,
Reveal who you are.
Set the world right; Do what’s best —
As above, so below.
Keep us alive.
Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others.
You’re in charge!
You can do anything you want!
You’re ablaze in beauty!
Yes. Yes. Yes.
When Joy Kills Sorrow by Béla Fleck
The Stranger’s Blessing
The Sacred Three be blessing us,
our tables and their stores.
The Sacred Three be blessing
all our loved ones evermore.
May the blessing of God – the Author, the Messenger, and the Word,
be with us and remain with us always. Amen.