Praying for the Whole World

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Ruth Poetry


At the season of first fruits, we recall
two travellers, co-conspirators, scavengers making do with leftovers and mill ends, whose friendship was stronger than fear, stronger than hunger, who walked together, the road of shards, hands joined.


Once, Id have done anything for Naomi.
Anything at all. Willingly.

Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people; and your God, my God.

I kept my promises,
didnt I?
I went to Bethlehem and to the barley fields and to Boaz.

But no one told me how far this road would go. No one said that as soon as I bore my baby
the women would carry him away, chanting a chorus of blessings.
Not on me;
on her.

No one said that milk would leak from me while my baby nestled at Naomis breasts. Even if I loved her with the love of seven sons (and I’m not saying that I dont)
Id not relinquish my child.
Not without regret so strong that it paralyzes and silences me. Forever.


Time for a different kind of harvest. Sated with bread and beer
Boaz and his men sleep deeply on the fragrant hay.
The floor doesnt creak.
When Boaz wakes, his eyes gleam with unshed tears.
He is no longer young, maybe forty; his face is lined
as Mahlon's never became.
Who are you? he asks
and I hear an echoing question: who is it? what is it? who speaks? Spread your wings over me, I reply and his cloak billows high.
Now he clasps my foreign hand and kisses the tips of my fingers now skin glides against skin
and the seed of salvation grows in me the outsider, the forbidden
we move from lack to fullness we sweeten our own story
and as my belly swells I pray
that the day come speedily and soon when we won't need to distinguish Israel from Moab
the suns radiance from the moons
Boazs square fingers
from my smaller olive hands amen, amen, selah.

Rabbi Rachel Barenblat

The Awakening

Yes, daughter, go, said Naomi,
and so off Ruth went, out from Bethlehem, to the fields of barley,
the fields of Boaz.
All that long day Naomi waited, weak with hunger
and worry.
Had she been younger or stronger,
she, too, might have gone
to glean amidst the grain for bits of kindness.
But Naomi was not young;
she was not strong;
so in Bethlehem she stayed and slept,
dreaming, sometimes, of the younger woman, hidden among the sheaves, perhaps never to emerge
or return.
With every dream
panic pulsed through Naomis blood until she wakened to see before her Ruth, and food, and
the future.


The First Night

on what would be their last night together, till death they did part
Boaz and Ruth lay in slumber, each, in parallel,
dreaming back to that first night, on the threshing floor
beside the grain pile.
He’d been sleeping when she, in stealth, tiptoed to where he rested,
uncovered his feet
and curled up at his toes. When he awoke,
they spoke, first;
then they slid, slowly,
into the space that, unbeknownst to either, they would share forever
in time, and text, and tradition.


Wednesday, October 31, 2018

To The Saints

To the Saints at Whitehorse United Church - greetings to you, and peace.

That's how Paul would have said it. "To the saints in the church at ____" and by that he meant the people of that church. To be saint is to be a follower of Jesus, and a part of the family of faith. That's you! As we come to this time of year....All Hallow's Eve, and then All Saints and All Souls Day, it's important to remember that.

So - greetings to you, and peace, all you saints!

I'm home again after being away for the bulk of two weeks. I'm trying my best to get reconnected, but my goodness there's a lot of stuff happening! I can't remember if I told you, so I'll tell you (perhaps again) that I have been at two courses:

The first was in Burlington Ontario, and it was a course on "Biblical Storytelling". I attended this course last year as well. In essence, it advocates and explores the benefits of TELLING scripture rather than reading it. As a follow up to that, I'm inviting you to come to two sessions Nov 10 and 17, from 10-noon. We'll work on memorizing the Christmas story according to Luke. If you want to get a head start on that, we'll work on Luke 2: 1-7, and then if we have that down, we'll continue to verses 8-20 as well. My preference is that you use the New Revised Standard Version.

The second was in Orillia Ontario, where I attended the annual training session of the Canadian Police Chaplains' Association.

And now I'm back, raring to go, as they say.

Here's a poem I found (author unknown to me) about saints - real life, all-too-human ones. I needed this poem this week, and perhaps you will like it too.

These are the thin days
of Hallow’s Eve, All Saints and Souls
when we offer thanks for those who linger with us
and the souls who come to find us.

Here among us
are the saints-in-making
the challenging one, close by or far away
the incredibly rude one
the smoker all too near
the creepy one with too smooth tongue
the tedious religious one
the facebook friend you wished you never hatched
the annoying one with certain aim
the one who pushes all your buttons.

Yes. Him. Her. Them. Those. The Others.
All souls they are.

Oh November 1, what a day you are
you demand us notice
not just the lovely ones,
not just the saintly-defined-by-us ones,
but all the souls-in-making
even unbearable saints.

We can do other but stand firmly in the day
and wonder (really) how the Light is being shaped
deep within their heart
while being kind in ours.

 I wish you a wonderful week.
with love and in hope