Living Psalm 45:10-17 – Pentecost 6A
Living Psalms Book
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.
How early we learn to separate ourselves
from these fragile shells – from these bodies
that we are taught to hate,
persuaded that they trap and betray and trick us
into turning down the lights that shine within.
How unlike the flowers of the valley we are,
their sturdy stems bending innocently, unaware
of how their beauty moves us.
How unlike the ocean tides in their regular ferocity,
or the crustaceans that scuttle before those waves.
If a hermit crab finds a shell
too big to be of use, it waits for others to gather,
so that they may shift their homes – a community
comfortable together – while we, meanwhile,
can hardly stand the feel of our own skin in the sun,
limbs exposed, without judging ourselves lacking.
We feel, always, the eyes of others upon us,
so we retreat into our heads, with the monsters who lurk there.
We rarely drape ourselves in dew, as the cobwebs
do at dawn. We slip our feet into shoes too tight,
comb back our hair until it pulls at the scalp,
punish ourselves for being talked out of our bodies,
our precious, perfect vessels that walk this earth,
prayer spilling from our lips like pearls.
How aware we are of our nakedness, of the vulnerability
that comes of presenting to the world, not the thoughts
that stir us from slumber, but these fleshy forms we’ve been gifted.
How like cold lumps of clay are we, stiff and cracking
from disuse. We must spill that living water until the streets
run grey and brown and red, until we smooth ourselves,
or leave edges jagged, as we see fit.
Pour us back into these bodies. This is what we have been given –
these hands to speak and soothe, and eyes to weep,
and if we are lucky, mouths to laugh and rage,
and a heart to beat amen amen amen
Living Psalm for Pentecost 6A – Psalm 45:10-17 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.