Saturday, March 28, 2009

Sunday Sabbath Poetry: Walter Brueggemann

My wife and I are praying each night through Walter Brueggemann's collection of prayers, Awed to Heaven, Rooted in Earth, and the following prayer struck us especially (however suited for a different time of day!). Brueggemann's work is profoundly infused with a welcoming draw toward God's majesty, otherness, and power for newness, and his poetry here (prayer is always poetry!) reflects that awe and trust in the God-who-is-Other.

My own is set in contrast to the patience of dawn and the transforming power of God evoked in Brueggemann's prayer, through the attention- and life-stealing modern force called TV.

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At the dawn

By Walter Brueggemann

Our first glimpse of reality this day -- everyday -- is your fidelity.
We are dazzled by the ways you remain constant among us,
in season, out of season,
for better, for worse,
in sickness and in health.
You are there in watchfulness as we fall asleep;
You are there in alertness when we awaken ... and we are glad.
Before the day ends, we will have occasion
to flag your absence in indifference...
but not now, not at the dawn.
Before the day ends, we will think more than once
that we need a better deal from you...
but not now, not at the dawn.
Before the day ends, we will look away from you and
relish our own fidelity and our virtue in mercy...
but not now, not at the dawn.
Now, at the dawn, our eyes are fixed on you in gladness.
We ask only that your faithfulness
permeate every troubled place we are able to name,
that your mercy
move against the hurts to make new,
that your steadfastness
hold firmly what is too fragile on its own.
And we begin the day in joy, in hope, and in deep gladness. Amen.

Old Testament theology class, on God's defining adjectives / July 18, 2000

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Ode to Television

You have made me your dependent
And my eyes, and my words, and my
Love are the worse, shriveled and shrill

You have made me your patron
And my pocket is prophetically,
Persistently open, full in generosity

You have made me your child
And my gait is checked, hip socket
Sick, in edged need of remote smile

You have made me your disciple
And my heart is restless until it finds
Its thirty second clipped rest in you

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