Psalm 19 – Epiphany 3C
Living Psalm Book
The geese fly late this year.
I watch another V cut across the sky,
long and sloppy, one group after another.
I’ve been missing the fireflies of July,
but this beauty destroys me. Today,
I am made of loneliness, of the dry tinder
of January, and I am jealous of the community
of geese, and of how they seem to rise above it all.
I am angry at the sky for giving me hope,
for lighting me up with rose and gold
and the swift flight of birds. It isn’t fair
that such beauty stretches above us when less
than a mile away, my neighbor’s house is ash,
when the nurses one town over not only fight infection,
but kept the very building where they serve us
from burning to the ground in an inferno.
The new year is too much pressure
when I have barely accepted the tattered remains
of the old – when hope only lingers on the outskirts,
in the frigid azure streaks of dusk. The geese
should be gone by now. The snow is deep
and the ponds frozen, but still, when I stop for a moment
and look up, searching, they streak by.
Across the grass, my neighbor stands looking up, bundled head to toe,
holding a leash. I can’t recall her name, but the dog is Jasmine.
I usually see her husband walking, but I heard the restaurant
where she works burned too, so here she is, out of step,
out of sync, staring at the sky, searching.
I am not so alone as this ache would have me believe.
Maybe I’m just the goose out front today, wings beating,
exhausted, heartsick for home, and a little lost.
Behind me, another is waiting to step up, to allow me rest
If I can accept that I must drop all the way to the back to claim it.
Maybe from a great distance, my pain looks like strength
to someone else who is searching the skies for hope.
Living Psalm for Epiphany 3C: Psalm 19 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.