Sunday, March 25, 2012

Pay Attention. Be Astonished. Tell About It.

The Rev. Dr. Ann Willms
Celebrant at our Centennial Service 2010
Photo by Bonny Bronson
Today is last Sunday that The Rev. Dr. Ann Willms will be with us at St. Paul's. I hope you will join us for worship and to hear her final sermon with us.

I must again express my sadness at her departure, but also my gratitude for the tremendous ministry she has done among us. Please join me in wishing her many blessings as she explores new ways to live into her baptism and ordination vows.

Thanks Ann!

On Friday, at our Lenten Luncheon, Professor Margaret Mohrmann quoted from poet Mary Oliver with a stanza from her poem Sometimes: “Instructions for living a life. Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.”

I thought you might enjoy reading the full poem:

+ + +
By Mary Oliver


Something came up
out of the dark.
It wasn't anything I had ever seen before.
It wasn't an animal
or a flower,
unless it was both.

Something came up out of the water,
a head the size of a cat
but muddy and without ears.
I don't know what God is.
I don't know what death is.

But I believe they have between them
some fervent and necessary arrangement.


melancholy leaves me breathless...


Water from the heavens! Electricity from the source!
Both of them mad to create something!

The lighting brighter than any flower.
The thunder without a drowsy bone in its body.


Instructions for living a life:
Pay attention.
Be astonished.
Tell about it.

Two or three times in my life I discovered love.
Each time it seemed to solve everything.
Each time it solved a great many things
but not everything.
Yet left me as grateful as if it had indeed, and
thoroughly, solved everything.


God, rest in my heart
and fortify me,
take away my hunger for answers,
let the hours play upon my body

like the hands of my beloved.
Let the cathead appear again-
the smallest of your mysteries,
some wild cousin of my own blood probably-
some cousin of my own wild blood probably,
in the black dinner-bowl of the pond.


Death waits for me, I know it, around
one corner or another.
This doesn't amuse me.
Neither does it frighten me.

After the rain, I went back into the field of sunflowers.
It was cool, and I was anything but drowsy.
I walked slowly, and listened

to the crazy roots, in the drenched earth, laughing and growing.
Photo by Lori Korleski Richardson

Art above by Chiura Obata, Untitled, 1927

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