Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Psalm 23


I returned from Lauds this morning (Saturday) hoping for a sunrise. Alas, the liturgical Hours do not always coordinate with the whims of the Sun, especially when it is (a) winter, and (b) cloudy. It was nearly 9 by the time the sun started peeking through. So when it did, I threw on my jacket and boots, and went out to walk and to have my soul restored.
A few days ago, in the belly of the machine that is downtown Chicago, walking through the city lights, past bank and cellular shop and fast food and traffic, I very nearly cried out for green pastures and still waters. I went into a church to meditate but all the wood there was dead, sliced, painted, nailed, and all the water was chilling in the hum of a drinking fountain.
Here at the Abbey of the Genesee there may be no green pastures, but they are available in other shades, such as the blue of early morning light on snow, and the gold of cornstalk stubble. Still waters are all around – much of them so still they have frozen. The guesthouse host has prepared a banquet for us, no burgers and donuts here, it is simple and abundant and it came from the earth.
When the Psalmist wrote “I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever,” he probably meant “in the Temple.” Okay, man, if that’s what you want, go for it. For me, all I ask is to be on the land, to sink my feet into it, to take my food and drink with gratitude from this earth (God’s body, God’s creation, God’s gift), to live under the ever-changing sky.

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