TOP 10 SIGNS YOU'RE IN FOR A LONG SUNDAY SERMONAnd our Dave Walker cartoon is a repeat, but I love it!
10. There's a case of bottled water beside the pulpit in a cooler.
9. The pews have camper hookups.
8. You overhear the pastor telling the sound man to have a few (dozen!)
extra tapes on hand to record today's sermon.
7. The preacher has brought a snack to the pulpit.
6. The preacher breaks for an intermission.
5. The bulletins have pizza delivery menus.
4. When the preacher asks the deacon to bring in his notes, he rolls in a
3. The choir loft is furnished with La-Z-Boys.
2. Instead of taking off his watch and laying it on the pulpit, the
preacher turns up a four-foot hour-glass.
AND THE NUMBER ONE SIGN YOU'RE IN FOR A LONG SUNDAY SERMON
1. The minister says, "You'll be out in time to watch the super bowl" but
it's only August!
Monday, August 31, 2009
Sunday, August 30, 2009
The Washing of Hands
By Barbara Crafton
For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, do not eat unless they thoroughly wash their hands, thus observing the tradition of the elders; and they do not eat anything from the market unless they wash it.
-- Mark 7:3-4
Often, people who want our religion to be more logical than it is will maintain that the dietary laws and cleanliness codes of ancient Israel were about sanitation. They try to argue that shellfish were forbidden to the Hebrews because they are dangerous without refrigeration, or that the injunction against boiling a kid in its mother's milk was really a practical response to the problem of unpasteurised dairy products.
This is unlikely. They were a means of maintaining Israel's separateness, not her cleanliness. To this very day, observant Jews and Muslims shape their daily life around their strictures. Most will tell you that they do not find the rules onerous: rather, they find them reassuring. Through them, they connect with the past of their people, and they connect to God through them, as well. Whatever their orgins, rules can help people to be who they are.
So the Israelites' handwashing was not primarily about sanitation. But we do now know, as they could not know then, that simply washing one's hands is one of the largest factors in the prevention of disease. Worldwide, diarrhea kills more children under the age of five than any other cause -- ten million will die of it before the year is over, the vast majority of them in developing countries. Children's bodies are small: it doesn't take long for an infection to overwhelm them. But educating mothers and village leaders in developing countries in very simple practices -- washing hands thoroughly before food preparation, before eating, after using the the toilet. Along with mosquito netting and medicine, Episcopal Relief & Development trains village volunteers to educate each mother in a village in this simple thing -- the washing of hands, to save her children's lives.
To learn more about ER&D or to make a donation, visit www.er-d.org or telephone 1-800-334-7626, ext 5219.
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Friday, August 28, 2009
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Obama, religious leaders urge people of faith to participate in health care reformBy Lynette Wilson, August 20, 2009[Episcopal News Service] President Barack Obama urged people of faith to knock on doors and spread the facts and the truth about health care reform during "40 Minutes for Heath Care Reform," an August 19 telephone call-in and webcast.
"Time and again men and women of faith have helped to show us what is possible when we are guided by our hopes and not our fears. That's what you have done before; that's how we were able to succeed in establishing social security and Medicare and bring about justice through the civil rights movement," Obama said. "That's what you can do again today to help us achieve quality affordable health care for every American."
An estimated 140,000 people of faith participated in the national conference call/webcast with the president and the faith community. Sponsored by more than 30 religious denominations -- including the Episcopal Church -- and organizations that cut across race and religious tradition, the call helped launch the "40 Days for Health Reform" campaign aimed at mobilizing people of faith to press Congress to finish work on health care reform when they return after Labor Day Recess.
"I am deeply concerned with all the shouting, the fear and even the hatred we are now hearing, we are in danger of losing the moral core of this debate, which is that many people are hurting as a result of a broken system," said Jim Wallis, president of Sojourners, which approaches faith, politics, and culture from a biblical perspective.
"This call shows how united the faith community is around the moral principal of accessible, affordable quality care for every American, for all of God's children. Tonight we are calling on the people of faith to make our political representatives understand that the faith community will be satisfied with nothing less than accessible, affordable health care for all Americans."
40 Minutes participants shared their personal experiences with health care at the start of the conference. Karla Carranza, a 15-year-old who attends Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Denver, Colorado, shared her family's story. Carranza's mother works cleaning houses and her father works in the meat department of a grocery story. The family lost their Medicaid coverage because Carranza's parents combined income exceeded the Medicaid limit by $6. Carranza is going without treatment for scoliosis, and her mother cannot afford medications to control diabetes, tendonitis and high blood pressure and cholesterol.
"I don't want my mom to die," she said. "I want my parents to be there as I grow up. I want them to meet my children and for them to see me reach my goals in life. I don't want to grow up without my family's support."
Melody Barnes, the Obama Administration's domestic policy director, answered questions from the faith community, including one from Deacon Jo Glasser from the Episcopal Diocese of Eau Claire, Wisconsin.
Glasser said that people in her diocese are concerned that reform means a government take over of health care, and others are concerned that without a strong public option Americans will be at the mercy of the insurance industry. "What is the president's position and how will it affect people in my diocese?" she asked.
Like people everywhere, Barnes said, members of the Diocese of Eau Claire are likely watching their wages fall while their health care costs rise. The proposed heath care reform would decrease heath care costs and end "sweetheart deals" for insurance companies, creating and effective and efficient system that provides better care, Barnes said.
"I would say that health reform is at the crux of being a faithful steward of our resources," she said.
Obama addressed the moral dimension of the health care debate, recognizing the important role of the faith community in finally achieving health care reform.
"I know we have thousands of people on this call from many different denominations and faiths but the one thing that you all share is a moral conviction. You all know that this debate over health care goes to the heart of who we are as a people," he said. "I believe that nobody in America should be denied basic health care because he or she lacks heath insurance and no one in America should be pushed to the edge of financial ruin because an insurance company denies them coverage or drops their coverage or charges fees they can't afford for care that they desperately need."
Obama used the conference to correct some of the misinformation that has plagued the national debate.
"If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan. Nothing that we are doing obligates you to choose any plan other than the one you have. If you like your doctor you can keep seeing your doctor," he said. "We are not going to interfere with that. I don't want government bureaucrats meddling in your health care, but I also don't want insurance company bureaucrats meddling in your health care … and that's what health insurance reform is all about."
Obama also address the so-called "death panels," calling the idea "an extraordinary lie." There is a provision in the House bill that provides Medicare reimbursements for counseling to set up a living will and advice on other end-of-life decisions, he explained.
Heath care reform is not designed to provide health insurance for illegal aliens, or to fund abortions, he continued, calling the lies and misinformation, "fabrications that have been put out there to stop people from meeting a core moral and ethical obligation that we look out for one another … that I am my brother's keeper, my sister's keeper, and in the wealthiest nation on earth we are neglecting to live up to that call."
Over the next 40 days, communities of faith are organizing and hosting heath care forums, prayer rallies, contacting elected officials, picking up the phone and knocking on doors in support of heath care reform.
The Episcopal Public Policy Network sent a policy alert August 17 inviting members active in health care advocacy to participate in the call with Obama.
The 76th General Convention recently passed several health care-related resolutions, including CO71, in support of universal access to quality, affordable health care in the United States and calling on Congress to pass comprehensive health care reform this year.
More information about the 40 Day Campaign for Health Care Reform is available here.
-- Lynette Wilson is staff writer, Episcopal Life Media.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Monday, August 24, 2009
stopped to inquire after the priest's much-loved roses.
"Not bad," said the priest, "but they suffer from a disease peculiar to this area
known as the black death."
"What on earth is that?" asked the passerby, anxious to increase his garden knowledge.
"Nuns with scissors."
finishing dinner and discussing theology. Suddenly, an angel appeared
"I have been sent to grant each of you one wish," she said. "Who will
The catholic priest stood up. "I wish for the destruction of all
Then the protestant minister bolted up. "I wish for the destruction
of all Catholics!"
The rabbi kept seated, so the angel asked, "How about you? What do
you wish for, Rabbi?"
The rabbi answered, "Well, if you're going to grant their wishes,
I'll just settle for another cup of coffee."
Sunday, August 23, 2009
One afternoon, we worked our way downstream along the Payette River, which winds through a wooded canyon and into a rocky gorge. Somehow I ended up on the north side of the gorge when everyone else was on the south side of the gorge.
I became stuck at the base of a cliff on a rocky ledge.
I really did not want to hike back upstream, but I could not see how I was going to get past the cliff and downstream – and the sun was beginning to set.
My boots were slippery from mud and river gunk, and I did not trust my footing to climb across the rocky ledge. I briefly thought of jumping into the raging river below, but that was definitely a stupid idea.
Then I looked across the gorge to the other side, where a member of our fishing party was standing on another rocky ledge with a big cigar in his mouth. He was not just anyone in our party, but Joe Hennessy, who at 80-years-old, was our most experienced angler.
Joe told me take off my shoes, and walk across the ledge barefoot. “Trust me,” he shouted. “You won’t fall.”
I did as he told me. I climbed across the ledge, barefoot, my boots slung over my shoulder, and I reached the safety of a big meadow on the other side. I believed him, though it seemed nuts at the time.
Belief is a tricky thing, and it is word that is deceptively difficult to define.
Outwardly, the meaning in English is plain enough. Belief: to give assent to an idea, or as my Webster’s dictionary puts it, “to take as true” a particular proposition.
In the original Greek of the gospel, the word for believe is pees-tou. My Greek-English lexicon has a page-and-a-half of definitions, all in small print. There are another five pages of definitions of words that are derivatives of pees-tou.
That should be caution enough about making a hasty interpretation.
One meaning of believe is to accept an idea as correct, for example, we can say we “believe” that the earth orbits the sun because we have enough data to reasonably make that conclusion.
Another layer of meaning requires a nuance that comes in the Greek. In the Gospel of John, the word pees-tou is frequently followed by the word eis, or “into,” so it comes out as “believe into.” The word “believe” is no longer about correct data but about a true relationship, or entering into a true belief, as when Jesus says “believe into me.”
Today we encounter a third layer of meaning “to believe.” Believe now becomes about trust, as in “can you trust in the truth of something you don’t yet see or understand?”
That question, and this meaning of “believe” as trust, laces throughout the passage we hear today, a passage that sounds almost the same as last week’s but is not.
To refresh your memory, last week Jesus talked about how his followers must eat his flesh and drink his blood. He is not talking about cannibalism, but about having an experience of the holy in the bread and wine of our Eucharist.
Today Jesus is moving us beyond the Eucharist and onto the difficult ground of belief that is trust in a relationship with him. Jesus declares that salvation is not for a single special group, but for all of humanity – and he asks his listeners to believe him even though they don’t yet see it or understand it.
Jesus uses the word “believe” to invite us to encounter him as the Christ, meaning the “anointed one,” or “holy one,” who will break himself on the Cross so that others might live. He invites into this encounter with him so that we can experience not only our own brokenness, but also the healing that will bring us into the fullness of life.
Jesus asks us: Can we trust him enough to act in the knowledge that God promises us salvation?
Not all are willing to go there, as the Gospel of John points out. Some who have followed Jesus this far will fall away.
Yet Jesus continues to invite everyone to the table and closer into the circle, and he is recasting the meaning of being in the circle. All are special; all are welcome into the circle. Yet not everyone welcomes the idea of sharing the circle with others.
As people fall away, Jesus sounds as if he wonders if anyone will stick with him, and so he turns to Peter – “Do you wish to go away?”
No, Peter replies, I am here and we have nowhere else to go. Peter tells Jesus he believes him, trusts him, and he will go with him.
And here is where I find hope in Peter’s answer: Peter all but admits he doesn’t understand where he is going or what exactly Jesus is getting at. But, in effect, Peter says, I will take off my shoes and go barefoot wherever it is we are to go, even out on a rocky ledge.
For now, it is enough for Peter to say to Jesus: “You are the holy one of God – you are the holy one.” And then Peter takes off his shoes, walks ahead, listening, seeing, experiencing the Holy One. And so can we.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
On a Perfect Day
by Jane Gentry
... I eat an artichoke in front
of the Charles Street Laundromat
and watch the clouds bloom
into white flowers out of
the building across the way.
The bright air moves on my face
like the touch of someone who loves me.
Far overhead a dart-shaped plane softens
through membranes of vacancy. A ship,
riding the bright glissade of the Hudson , slips
past the end of the street. Colette's vagabond
says the sun belongs to the lizard
that warms in its light. I own these moments
when my skin like a drumhead stretches on the frame
of my bones, then swells, a bellows filled
with sacred breath seared by this flame,
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
WHAT DO THEY SAY
By Gary Synder
The glimpse of a once loved face
gone on a train.
Lost in a new town, no one knows the name.
lone man sitting in the park
Chanced on by a friend
of thirty years before,
what do they say.
Play chess with bottle caps.
"for sale" sign standing in the field:
Soot on the sill,
a garden full of weeds
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Loose Network of Activists Drives Reform Opposition
By Dan Eggen and Philip Rucker
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, August 16, 2009
The rowdy protests that threaten President Obama's health-care reform efforts have been spurred on by a loose network of activists -- from veteran advocacy groups with millions of dollars in funding to casual alliances of like-minded conservatives unhappy over issues from taxes to deficits to environmental laws.
Monday, August 17, 2009
* The Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (4.7 million members), whose weeklong meeting in Minneapolis begins today will vote on whether non-celibate gay people can be ordained as Lutheran clergy, and on a statement saying same-gendered relationships have a place in the church.To read the full story, click HERE. The Monday Funnies are below...
* In July, the United Methodist News Service announced that the United Methodist Church (11 million members, 8 million of whom are Americans) is on track, based on early voting results, to reject an amendment that would let any professed Christian become a church member. Conservative opponents viewed the proposed change as implicit acceptance of homosexuality.
* In June, the Presbyterian Church USA (2.3 million members) announced the rejection of an amendment that would have let non-celibate gay people become clergy.
It will soon be stewardship time, that time not on the liturgical calendar but which ought to be.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
“Whoever eats of this bread will live forever.”
The ancient Romans considered the Christians to be Barbarians. Worse than Barbarians.
When the Romans heard passages like this one – “Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life” – what do you think they concluded?
That the Christians were cannibals. And why wouldn’t they?
If that were not enough, imagine what the Romans thought when they heard this line:
“Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them.”
Or, consider for a moment the ancient Jewish leaders of the Temple, and I’d like you to consider them sympathetically.
When they heard “eat my flesh” they were repulsed, and no wonder. The Hebrew Scriptures forbid eating human flesh, and, in fact, the title of the devil in Aramaic, the language of Jesus, is translated as “flesh eater.”
So I want to stop right here, right in the middle of this big messy, bloody knot of words. Let me point out that anyone who says they take the Bible literally, that every word means exactly what it says, will end up in a tight box with this passage and others like it. It takes interpretation to get out of the box.
There is another way to hear this, but it takes work, and it takes understanding the images and structure used by the Gospel of John.
I do not want to sound overly academic, but there is a very good – and short – book that details what I am about to talk about. The book is entitled The Mystical Way in the Fourth Gospel, by Bill Countryman.
His thesis is that the Gospel of John is like a labyrinth; the gospel takes the listener on a twisting path that leads from the outer edges of being merely acquainted with Jesus, to the very center of existence and union with the Risen Christ.
The language of John, like we hear today, is designed not to encourage cannibalism, but to push us into seeing and feeling with all our senses that Christ Jesus is all around us, and with us and in us. This is about more than belief, but is about experience.
John pushes us to go beyond mere doctrines; the language of John is designed to knock us off center, and out of our conventional ideas of religion by pushing us into seeing that the life of faith is about touching the presence of Christ everywhere and in everything we do.
This business about “eat my flesh, drink my blood” in John is really an invitation to a physical experience of the spiritual. We are invited to use every sense we have in this experience: taste and smell, touch and sight, and hearing.
We are invited especially to make this experience real in our Eucharist, in the sharing in the bread and wine of Holy Communion. That is what Jesus is really getting at with these words we hear today.
This in-dwelling of the Spirit is like a good meal, and like a good meal, it is for not only nourishment but for our enjoyment. We can have a frozen dinner or a gourmet meal. Both will feed us, but which would you rather have?
To get the most out of our meal, we need to train our palette. The more intentional we are in our walk of faith – and the more we train our spiritual palette – the more we will be aware of the Risen Christ amongst us, and all around us
This walk of faith starts from the beginning of our existence. God walk with us even when we are infants, and God continues to walk with us throughout our life, even in those times we don’t see it – maybe especially in those times.
A major step along the path is baptism, and in baptism we celebrate with physical symbols – water and words – the inward work of the Holy Spirit. For us, baptism is not a magic act but is a gateway to a life journey of faith. In a few moments, we will celebrate baptism with a new baby, and with her, renew again the promises and hopes of our own baptism.
And baptism leads us to another physical sign of our faith, the meal we share together in Holy Communion. It is that meal Jesus asks us to celebrate today, to bring inwardly into our very souls his abiding presence.
He offers us something to eat that will last forever because he promises to abide within us forever. That is the meaning of these words we hear today from the gospel. This sacred meal of bread and wine is a gift to each of us, and I pray as we gather around this Holy Table, we will once again experience with every sense we have the Risen Christ dwelling amongst us and in us.
Saturday, August 15, 2009
"My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
His mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
according to the promise he made to our ancestors,
to Abraham and to his descendants forever."
Friday, August 14, 2009
A Test of Faith in Mexico's Drug War: Religion Endures an Inner, Outer Struggle
By Steve Fainaru and William Booth
Washington Post Foreign Service
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
TEPALCATEPEC, Mexico -- Father Miguel López drives the parish pickup truck across the muddy river that separates two warring drug cartels. He follows the winding road through the dark green foothills of the Sierra Madre until he comes to a rusting archway where traffickers hung the severed head of his friend.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
"Prayer is the peace of our spirit, the stillness of our thoughts, the evenness of recollection, the seat of meditation, the rest of our cares and the calm of our tempest; prayer is the issue of a quiet mind, of untroubled thoughts, it is the daughter of charity, and the sister of meekness."
“So that we imagine God to be as the air and the sea; and we all enclosed in his circle, wrapped up in the lap of his infinite nature, or as infants in the wombs of their pregnant mothers: and we can no more be removed from the presence of God than from our being.”
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Monday, August 10, 2009
Lazarus to his Sunday school class. "After his death, many people gathered
to console Mary and Martha," he said. "They treated Lazarus's body, wrapped
him, and laid him in the tomb. After four days of mourning, Lazarus stood
up and walked out of the tomb."
"Now," he asked the class, "what do you think those people were
Little Johnny quipped, "All that work for nothing!"
As he was preparing to tee off, the tournament organizer approached him and
pointed to the dark, threatening storm clouds that were gathering.
"Preacher," the organizer said, "I trust you'll see to it that the
weather won't turn bad on us."
The pastor shook his head. "Sorry. I'm sales, not management."
A: In order to make weather forecasters look good.
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Ann’s primary responsibility will be in pastoral care and visitation. She will also join with us as a chaplain in university ministry and will, from time-to-time, teach on Wednesday evenings at our community night. She joins a very talented staff of clergy and laity, complementing the gifts we already have.
The Vestry earlier this week formally approved the terms of her letter of agreement with us, and members of the Vestry have spent time with her talking about her vision of ministry and meeting her husband, Chris. Her bishop, the Rt. Rev. Clifton Daniel, of East Carolina, has agreed to allow her to serve with us.
Ann’s first Sunday with us will be Aug. 30. As you will discover, she is a recent graduate of the Virginia Theological seminary, and she comes to us with much life experience. She is a mother of two daughters, and she has had a career as a physician.
Ann currently is a transitional deacon, ordained in the Diocese of East Carolina. We expect, God willing, she will be ordained a priest here in Virginia in early 2010. There is much more to say, so for now, I hope everyone will extend to her a warm greeting and assistance in her ministry. Here is her biographical statement:
Saturday, August 8, 2009
Friday, August 7, 2009
Enjoy the Day
By Gary Snyder
One morning on a ridgetop east of Loowit
after campfire coffee
looking at the youthful old volcano
breathing steam and sulfer
bowls of snow
went up behind a mountain hemlock
asked my old advisors where they lay
what's going on?
"New friends and dear sweet old tree ghosts
here we are again. Enjoy the day."
From danger on peaks, by Gary Snyder (2004)
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Forgive me if you've heard this story before (I like to tell it): A few years ago my friend, David Link, and I set forth to climb Mount Hoffman, an 11,000 foot peak in Yosemite National Park. I tell you about this because I think it has something to do with the Feast of the Transfiguration, which we celebrate today.
The Feast of the Transfiguration is not a big deal in the churches of western Europe and the United States, but it is a very big deal in Eastern Orthodox churches. In the eastern churches, today is a major feast day, right up there just behind Easter and Christmas.
So let me tell you about our adventure up Mount Hoffman.
Now, as peaks go, Mount Hoffman is certainly not the highest in Yosemite, but has the advantage being in the exact geographic center of Yosemite, giving it spectacular views into every corner of the park. And it also has its challenges, so we gave ourselves three days to climb Mount Hoffman.
When I say Mount Hoffman has its challenges, not all of those challenges are physical. One of the challenges is finding the trail to the top. The higher you go, the less obvious the route up. And that is another way of saying that we somehow missed the mountain. Oh, we got to the top of a peak. We looked down on Half Dome to the South, and over to Cathedral Peaks and Tuolumne Meadows to the East, and to jagged peaks far in the distance to the north, and to the hazy Central Valley to the west.
But then we looked at our topographic map, and we realized that whatever we climbed wasn’t Mount Hoffman. We somehow zigged when we should have jagged and we ended up on top of a different peak.
Mount Hoffman was over there, one peak over. See photo. That is Mount Hoffman. We were not on its top, we were one peak over taking its photograph.
I mention all this because climbing mountains is tricky business, and I am in full sympathy with the disciples who climb a high mountain and discover Jesus standing before them dazzling white. I can just feel how disorienting and strange this must have been to the disciples, and they did not have the benefit of a topographic map to help figure this out. When they got up there, they may have wondered if they should have zigged when they zagged.
So Peter blurts out the first thing that comes to mind: “Hey, I know – let’s make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
Peter is fumbling for words.
Peter is trying to make sense of what must have been an indescribable experience. When he sees the shimmering vision of Jesus, Peter goes to the only reference point on the map he knows, the words of the prophets.
For those who might be unsure what these dwellings are about, the dwellings are “tabernacles” – or tents – that devout Jews erect once a year for the Festival of Tabernacles. Peter is declaring his devotion and respect for Jesus and putting Jesus on the same par as Moses and Elijah, the two greatest Hebrew prophets. But even doing that misses the mark, as Peter is soon to find out.
The language Peter uses – the dwelling places – aren’t big enough. The categories of religion are not quite up to the task. Instead of tents, a cloud appears, and God tells Peter, ever so simply, and maybe in just a whisper: “This is my son, the beloved. Listen to him.”
This experience is bigger than can be contained by any categories of human religion. We, with all of our education and healthy skepticism, do well to remember that experiences of the Holy often dwell outside of what we expect or can explain – that is the lesson of the Feast of the Transfiguration we celebrate today. I pray we will catch these experiences of the Holy in the unexpected corners and mountaintops of our life.
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Red Bird Explains Himself
by Mary Oliver
“Yes, I was the brilliance floating over the snow
and I was the song in the summer leaves, but this was
only the first trick
I had hold of among my other mythologies,
for I also knew obedience: bring sticks to the nest,
food to the young, kisses to my bride.
But don’t stop there, stay with me: listen.
If I was the song that entered your heart
then I was the music of your heart, that you wanted and needed,
and thus wilderness bloomed that, with all its
followers: gardeners, lovers, people who weep
for the death of rivers.
And this was my true task, to be the
music of the body. Do you understand? for truly the body needs
a song, a spirit, a soul. And no less, to make this work,
the soul has need of a body,
and I am both of the earth and I am of the inexplicable
beauty of heaven
where I fly so easily, so welcome, yes,
and this is why I have been sent, to teach this to your heart.”