Living Psalm 71 – Pentecost 11C
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.
I am standing on a rock in the middle of the sea.
The waves lap at my feet. In the distance,
I see a sliver of land, hear the call of gulls
swooping overhead. I am alone, naked,
and yet I am not cold. I feel no pain here,
no sense of loss or fear. The anger,
my near constant companion, has not arrived,
and my grief is muted by the size of the sky.
I am alone.
It is a dream, I think. It is a prayer – not one
asking for strength or patience, not one begging
God for resilience against the great swamping
problems of the world that beat, unceasing,
at my door. It is not a prayer for belonging,
for helping, or seeking. It is a refuge.
I cannot sit down here, nor rest. There is no room
for me to collapse and stretch out. The rock
is for waiting, and watching. I have asked
for a reprieve and it has been granted. I am
numb to the joys that once sustained me
as much as to the fires that consumed me.
This is not the garden, not the gates – it is
nowhere and I am nothing – a collection of
bones given breath, removed from it all.
I don’t know how long I’ve stood, skin
against stone, staring out at the world
thinking about how we are all a breath away
from the thing that could change our lives
irrevocably. I miss my mother and how it felt
to be cared for. I miss the sound of the boy
next door bouncing his basketball all afternoon.
I miss the sloppy kisses of dogs I meet on the streets.
I’ve run away and found that nothingness is so much
worse than love. I am not ready to give up the fire
that burns a hole in the world and allows God in.
I am not ready to stand alone, an ocean between
the hurt and me. I will not surrender God’s light in me.
I hear this –
I won’t leave you alone – you can find refuge in me.
Living Psalm for Pentecost 11c – Psalm 71 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 2022 Maria Mankin. Permission granted to reproduce or adapt this material for use in services of worship or church education. All publishing rights reserved.