04 February 2010

processing: Preaching, Praying & Paying Attention

The other day in preaching class we explored the link between preaching, praying, & paying attention. We heard from this beautiful poem by Mary Oliver (The Summer Day) which she manages to move from pondering the psalm-like wonder of created-ness to the child-like fascination with a particular bug and a particular fleck of sugar. I wish I had a more immediate link in my brain and worship between praying, paying minute attention, and falling on my face, "idle and blessed." Let this be the case with "this one wild and precious life." Amen.

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean--
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down--
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is is you plan to do
With your one wild and precious life?

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