Favorite Poems on: Trust

As I dive into the lectionary passage (Luke 7:1-10), I am struck by the way Marcus Borg talks about the historical definition of faith as trust. Borg depicts the opposite of faith as worry and anxiety. What strikes me about the centurion in this week’s story is his lack of anxiety, which is indeed worthy of Jesus’ amazement. Thus, this week I have been reflecting on these poems that speak to the call to be faithful, trusting, and to not be consumed by our anxieties and fears. 

I Worried
by Mary Oliver

I worried a lot. Will the garden grow, will the rivers
flow in the right direction, will the earth turn
as it was taught, and if not how shall
I correct it?

Was I right, was I wrong, will I be forgiven,
can I do better?

Will I ever be able to sing, even the sparrows
can do it and I am, well,
hopeless.

Is my eyesight fading or am I just imagining it,
am I going to get rheumatism,
lockjaw, dementia?

Finally I saw that worrying had come to nothing.
And gave it up.  And took my old body
and went out into the morning,
and sang.

The Last Good Days
By Lynn Ungar

What will you do
with the last good days?
Before the seas rise and the skies close in,
before the terrible bill
for all our thoughtless wanting
finally comes due?
What will you do
with the last fresh morning,
filled with the watermelon scent
of cut grass and the insistent
bird calling sweet sweet
across the shining day? Crops are dying, economies failing,
men crazy with the lust for power and fame
are shooting up movie theaters and
engineering the profits of banks.
It is entirely possible
it only gets worse from here.

How can you leave your heart
open to such a vast, pervasive sadness?
How can you close your eyes
to the riot of joy and beauty
that remains?

The solutions, if there are any
to be had, are complex, detailed,
demanding. The answers
are immediate and small.

Wake up. Give thanks. Sing.

Camas Lilies
By Lynn Ungar

Consider the lilies of the field,
the blue banks of camas opening
into acres of sky along the road.
Would the longing to lie down
and be washed by that beauty
abate if you knew their usefulness,
how the natives ground their bulbs for flour,
how the settlers’ hogs uprooted them,
grunting in gleeful oblivion as the flowers fell?
And you —what of your rushed and useful life?
Imagine setting it all down—
papers, plans, appointments, everything—
leaving only a note: “Gone
to the fields to be lovely.
Be back
when I’m through with blooming.”
Even now, unneeded and uneaten,
the camas lilies gaze out above the grass
from their tender blue eyes.
Even in sleep your life will shine.
Make no mistake.
Of course your work will always matter.
Yet Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

Of Things Left Unfinished or Undone
By the Rev. Dr. Delmer Chilton

A phone call forgotten,
An email ignored,
Projects not completed,
Places not visited,
People unseen.
It is too much to think upon
The undoneness of an undoable job.

We all want to complete what we started,
To finish the race,
But it seldom happens.
We come into things mid-stream,
We catch on and catch up as best we can,
And then, sooner or later,
We leave or die,
And things we dreamed about
And had great hopes for
Are left unfinished and undone.

And it is okay.
It has been this way forever.
Some sow, others reap.
Some plan and others build.
And through it all and in it all
The beautiful Kingdom of God
Came and comes and is coming.

Amen.

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