Saturday, July 21, 2012

Day-blind Stars

*Thank you to my friend Caitlin for your beautiful post today  (Here).  I'm shamelessly posting this poem after reading it on her blog.  The poem says everything I wanted to write about tonight in much fewer words!*

The Peace of the Wild Things
Wendell Berry
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
Hiking in the Colorado Wilderness
 Summer 2011

As I read Wendell Berry's poem several times I can't help but note the similarities that it has to Psalm 23.  From despair to rest and freedom, from fear of evil to a table of feasting and grace, the journey of Psalm 23 is one by quiet waters through the very shadow of death.  There is rest and yet yearning, waiting for light while coming into peace.  This is the reality of our lives.  We live in the tension of 'day-blind stars.'

Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote about using the Psalms to give us words to pray.  Part of his writings have been compiled in a little book called Psalms: The Prayer Book of the Bible.  It is a mere 65 pages, but it is so helpful in directing our hearts to find words to pray from the Psalms.  Bonhoeffer, whose life ended in execution at the hands of the Nazis, knew first hand the growing despair of the world around him.  Yet he could say "If we are to pray aright, perhaps it is quite necessary that we pray contrary to our own heart.." (14).  Bonhoeffer has helped me to remember that there are words even when we have no words.

Psalm 23
The Lord is my shepherd, 
I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters, 
he restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me,
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me 
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and love will follow me 
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord