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On the First Day

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On the First Day

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It’s Sunday

The day Al Roker

Announces in

An echo chamber

I’m not sure why

Maybe his mother

Told him to

Maybe because

It’s game day

I’ll have church

In a little while

Service and Sunday

School in a virtual

(and, yes,

hopefully virtuous)

Way

And the day will continue

We’re expecting snow

In the afternoon,

Over night into

Monday morning,

Which could make

The commute

A mess

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C L Couch

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Photo by alexey turenkov on Unsplash

Published 1h ago

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Revival

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Revival

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Litany

Reading and response

Perhaps an antiphon

Might it happen in the forest

Where leaves are hymnals

And the altar

Is a clearing?

The supplicants

Are independent creations

Of all kinds

Petitioning for food, water,

Or the succor of the soil

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The forest as cathedral

Is nothing new

As metaphor

I wonder if each clearing

Is a parish

While alongside (in

earthly terms)

The desert

Is a church so vast

That all the Notre-Dames

Might fit within

With room for more

As if to invite

A wider awe

By people

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C L Couch

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Photo by Thomas Ho on Unsplash

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Missing Church

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Missing Church

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It used to meet

In buildings

Who’d have

Thought

That would be

Novel, given

Centuries

Of scary-high

Structures with

Ornaments that

Trod through

Ages’ worth

Of styles,

Of schools

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But then,

Before

The buildings

There was nothing

Formal but

The people

Who met in homes

And basements,

That is,

Tombs

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Cathedrals now

Are cyber

While the

Pandemic surges,

Though we wish

To have our

Lofts again and pews

And pulpits

Or, for

Some, a room

Big enough

For all of us

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I don’t know

If there’s teaching

Here about

Where we

Meet—that it

Doesn’t matter,

Maybe

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Two or three

The standard,

Maybe

Really

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Photo by Xavier Coiffic on Unsplash

St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City, Vatican

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Sunday Best

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Sunday Best

(for Juneteenth)

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I celebrate from a distance,

Thinking of church

As an invitation

I received

Several years ago

In a Black church in Louisville,

Kentucky

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I was there for meetings

And on

Sunday morning

We went to a church

Some of us

Had known about

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Arms rose into the air

For hours, and the choir

Never seemed

To stop

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And, I’m sorry,

I don’t remember the

Preaching

But remember the music

And the dancing in the air

Of arms and words

Carried up

By song

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And if the Spirit could be

Smoke, we

We wouldn’t breathe

But as it’s air

We breathed in life

And exhaled

New visions

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And we were welcomed,

Such was love

In the airy cloud

That prismed every color

With invitation

Courtesy

And movement

For outsiders

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We were there for hours

Without knowing

This was Sunday best

At its best

I’ll be a part of it again

Someday

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For there

There was freedom in the

Spirit

As there should be a day for it

Then every day

Every day a work

And play

For freedom

Numinous

And real

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Spirituality

Photo by Thiago Barletta on Unsplash

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Faithful Skeptic

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Faithful Skeptic

(spiritual humanist)

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I sin

And then I go to church

How does that work?

We sing that it is well,

Which Saint Julian proposes

We pray for the world

And for concerns

In the parish

We sing some more

We’ll pray some more

Then there will be teaching

(word and sacrament

for those who have sacraments)

Through it all,

We’re singing now

And thank goodness there is

Justice in that

Mingled with grace and mercy

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Through sin and virtue

Through indifference and zeal

Through exhaustion and desire

There is something

Going on,

Something moving

Call it spirit

Call it the orbit of the Earth

And the pressing down of gravity

Call it God’s

Call it nature’s

Call it ours

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And, yes, through it all

It is well

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Saint Julian of Norwich is a saint in the Catholic, Anglican, and Lutheran churches.  Other traditional Protestant churches recognize her standing.  Many Christians of all kinds respect her work in parish service and the service of the Christian Church, overall.  Her name is not known:  she is called Julian because that was the name of the church in Norwich, England where she lived.  She had a cell there, not a jail cell but a hermit’s.  She had a cat.  Each day people of the town would come to her to speak with her through a window, asking her for wisdom and advice.  I’m sorry, I should have mentioned that she lived and worked from the latter decades of the fourteenth century into the first years of the fifteenth century.

She wrote Revelations of Divine Love, a widely-read spiritual text.  It is also taken as the oldest book written in English by a woman.  Two things Julian is popularly known for asserting are the metaphor of the world as a hazelnut (long before William Blake asserted perceiving the world as and through a grain of sand).  And she claimed that, no matter how grim or unhopeful or destructive the world might seem, all shall be well.  She says this many times.

And all shall be well.

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Photo by Külli Kittus on Unsplash

Tallinn, Estonia

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Istanbul

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Istanbul

(Yankee perspective)

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How colorful the lamps

For sale in the bazaar

I’m not sure how their talents

Transliterate back home

Where so much

Is right-angled

And pastel

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One lamp of these lamps

Could shine over

Our obligatory book of a thousand tales

If not a treatise on the origin

Of mathematics

Or astronomy,

Right knowledge

That made protraction possible

Right angles

As well as acute, obtuse

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A world worked out

Until the rough-edged stories

Like the roc that swallows interlopers

In the lore

Come to roost

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C L Couch

(Yankee)

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Tell the Beadle

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Tell the Beadle

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I had church today with friends

Five hundred miles from here,

And I am thankful

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I’m not sure what it means or

How it counts, and I guess mostly

I don’t care

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There was prayer and conversation,

And God was mentioned many

Times and Jesus

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I think if there were an attendance

Book, our names could be

Fairly entered

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As it is, computers have recorded

In theirs pathways our participation so

Cybernetic stars

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Sayq, Ad Dakhiliyah ‍Governorate, Oman

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Frozen Yellow Rose

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Frozen Yellow Rose

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Is this a prose-poem or an essay or a Sunday homily (the text would be the Good Samaritan)?  I don’t know, but here it is.  Something I heard at church from those who were there.  I mean, were there in Houston.

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here’s what happened in Houston (Texas, USA) yesterday:

most homes do not have fireplaces and instead rely on electricity to power furnaces for heat and appliances for cooking and computers, but the power grid is out, it’s blank in Houston;

in grills or in makeshift places, Duralogs were burned and any wood that could be found or any charcoal left from summer or, indeed in a deep Southern place, the last time there was a barbecue;

the feeling was post-apocalyptic

there was a certain grocery store that powered up enough generators to preserve food and to allow people inside safely, though the numbers who could enter at a time were severely limited (because there is a pandemic raging ‘round the world and through Houston); this meant that there were thousands outside the store in line, waiting for their turn;

keep in mind it’s extra winter there just now, the temperature having gone into the teens during the day;

the manager of this grocery store or maybe it was the owner, walked up and down the line outside and said to folks, if you can’t pay for your groceries just now, don’t worry—get what your family needs, bread and baby food and such;

according to those who were there, this kind of thing was happening all over the city

coda

this does not account or provide sustenance for those assailed by the crisis of collapsing glacial ice in India that has stolen the lives of scores of people; this does not take care of COVID-19 or provide vaccine, something that the world sorely needs; this does not answer all the problems and frankly all the disasters that we suffer with here and there on planet Earth; it is a single story, and maybe we could let it have the power of a single story, which like creation stories or apocalypses or “The Gift of the Magi” or “The Artist of the Beautiful,” can be, well, pretty powerful

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Power Failure: How a Winter Storm Pushed Texas into Crisis

https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/article/Power-failure-How-a-winter-storm-pushed-Texas-15967411.php

Around 2 a.m. Monday, the full measure of the crisis Texas faced began to be apparent. Cold and ice had set in the day before, leading to spreading power outages across the state.

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Photo by Vlad Busuioc on Unsplash

Downtown, Houston, Texas, United States

drone view of a city

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Sabbath Invitationing

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Sabbath Invitationing

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We meet God outside,

Invite God into church

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God might come

But there is busyness

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God means it—

We don’t know what to say

Except Thank you

Then move inside

With something like

Haste

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Why should we feel guilty?

We invited God to church

And God said no,

Well, said maybe after

Busyness

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We’re not sure

We see the lesson here

Or anything prescriptive

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We can take it up

At lunch after, certainly

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By the time we go to church again

In case God

Is there again

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C L Couch

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Photo by laura adai on Unsplash

Trentino-Alto Adige, Italia

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