Living Psalm 34:1-10 Pentecost 23A
Psalms in the form of words and art, reborn in the specific contexts of our world, privileging the voices of historically marginalized communities and those acting in solidarity with them.
As I’m rolling in the trash cans,
I stop to chat with my neighbor.
I haven’t seen him in awhile.
He’s been visiting his mother-in-law –
she took a fall – and he wants to convince her
to move out here, to be close by, so they won’t worry.
How close? I ask. Oh, he tells me,
we want her to move in with us.
Of course, we want my mother to move in too,
he says. I’m at a loss for words.
That’s some big love right there –
two mothers under one roof.
Granted, his children are grown now,
and have children of their own,
while mine are still in Halloween parades
and watching old Disney movies for the first time.
Even so, I can’t imagine a house so full.
I have been worried though. I have reached that age,
the age where my parents, who had me later in life,
are beginning to look like they need me more,
or maybe I need them – need them to live forever,
healthy and strong, need them to tell me
they will never leave me.
My children still believe we all live forever.
They worry about things like the sun
imploding in several millions years
because my eldest read an article saying it would.
His brother asks, Will we be alive to see that?
No, my love, we won’t. I do not tell him
I can’t know for sure how long any of us
will be alive to see anything.
And this is how it all comes back to a war
I cannot see happening, halfway around the world.
This is why I rake the leaves into a pile one more time,
why we go out for ice cream twice this week,
why I read them one more book every night –
because a very long plane ride away,
there is not enough love to save everyone,
not enough to provide a single roof
to protect one mother, much less a thousand.
You don’t have to be a mother or a son
to have your heart broken by how little you can do.
All it takes is one neighbor to remind you
that none of us lives and dies alone.
Living Psalm for Pentecost 23A – Psalm 34: 1-10 was written by Maria Mankin.
Living Psalms Book is created by UCC Witness & Worship Artists’ Group, a Network of UCC connected artists, activists and ministers bridging the worship and liturgy of the local church with witness and action in the community. Maren Tirabassi, editor
Logo is detail from Living Psalm 80 by Sophia Beardemphl, Redwoods, CA. Recovering from significant bullying, Sophia, age nine, read Psalm 80 and thought of brokenness that needs mending. She drew this broken and mended bowl.
© Copyright 2023 Maria Mankin. Permission granted to reproduce or adapt this material for use in services of worship or church education. All publishing rights reserved.