Thursday, May 29, 2008

Worship and mission

All the quick notes
Mozart didn't have time to use
before he entered the cloud-boat

are falling now from the beaks
of the finches
that have gathered from the joyous summer

into the hard winter
and, like Mozart, they speak of nothing
but light and delight,

thought it is true, the heavy blades of the world
are still pounding underneath.
And this is what you can do too, maybe,

if you live simply and with a lyrical heart
in the cumbered neighborhoods or even,
as Mozart sometimes managed to, in a palace,

offering tune after tune after tune,
making some hard-hearted prince
prudent and kind, just by being happy.

--Mary Oliver

Wonderful Colleague and I always seem to come back around to the intersection of worship and mission, about how each prepares us for the other, about how we equip the people in our community for both, about how we tie it all together. What follows here is a result of what I've heard in public and private worship in the last few weeks, and I think it's a part of the answer to the question. We live out those things which reach into us. The things that we truly hear become a part of us. And, enlivened, we are moved to act on that which we know.

And so, when wondering what our mission will be, we should

Consider the finches.

They sing because they're happy.
They sing because they're free.
God's ear is bent toward finches, and
God hears you and me.

And so we, like the finches,
offer what we have—
the tonality of our selves,
all our bright and dark timbres,
that God's work may be done
by our grasping feet,
God's story told
by our warbling tongues.

And every ordinary breath,
every inspiration
become a love song
for and from a God
who is present
in every beat
of our fluttering hearts,
in every flap
of our tiny wings.

We sing because we're happy.
We sing because we're free.
God's ear is bent toward finches, and
God's hearing you and me.

"But I'm NOT feeling happy
you may say.
Some days are like that.
Storms come,
branches break,

loved ones get sick,
resentments work their poison,
grain is scarce,
and this world seems to know less peace
with each passing day.

God is present there, too.
Even when we forget to

Even when we're stuck in a dark place.
Even when we can't feel the nest
beneath us.

Consider the finches.
Sing anyway, if you can.
If you can't, listen for a while
to the rhythm of your heart.
Breathe in.

even if it begins as a wail;
new life often does.

Just sing because you're human,
and sing because you're free.
God's ear is bent toward finches, and
God hears you and me.


Songbird said...

Thank you.
I see The Song of the Lark on your reading list. I love that book. Is it an old favorite for you?

Choralgirl said...

Nope, first-time read! I've been a Cather fan for years, though.

I was the only one in my book club who liked "Death Comes for the Archbishop" last summer, and I decided then that I'd read my way through her list. Yum.

Cecilia said...

Lovely, Choralgirl. Your relationship with Wonderful Colleague sounds enviable.

Pax, C.

Diane said...

yes, it's fun to have a colleague who gets "music and mission" isn't it?

love love love your poem.

Did you like The Preservationist? my book group read it.

Choralgirl said...

Yup. I'd read his other book, "Fallen," and really liked it. I'm always up for an interesting midrash. :-)

Thanks, BTW--you too, Cecilia.