Psalm 37:1-11 – Epiphany 7C
Living Psalm 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.
A friend writes to tell me about New York
in the winter. Not the city, the hubbub, or the shut downs,
but the country lanes, the skeletal branches that yawn
and stretch as the days grow longer.
She writes about the steel sky on stormy mornings
and how she dives into the blue when it returns.
Those days, she tells me, are a lifeline to a spring
that seems never-coming. When it snows,
she pulls on boots and walks in the silence,
but some days, the clouds press in,
and the wind cuts to the bone. Some days,
there is no sign of green, of new life,
of hope. Then, winter is alive, a beast
stalking round her home, all bite,
an endless, deadening roar.
When will it end, she asks, having moved from San Diego
when the days were still long and hot, when the green
was so deep in the fields that it felt like an exhalation
of God. I don’t want to be the one to tell her that
ice may coat branches in May, that the scent of rich
brown earth is too far for wishes or prayers to reach.
Find the oranges, I say instead. Buy kiwi, grapefruit,
lemons, and sweet little finger limes. Buy tart sunshine,
if you can, from the other side of the country, or the world.
Buy the scent of blossoming trees, and the toil of laborers,
and let it remind you of your place in the garden.
Let it remind you too of the strength and generosity
of this earth, and of the people willing to tend it.
Let the taste of it fill you with gratitude, even if only
for a moment. The moment is what we have.
Now, take a breath. Take a breath and praise God
for every bit of joy squeezed out of the days.
Pray, with the juice of joy on your lips,
for every sorrow that you hold close.
The hope may be taken from us, but never
the prayer that it will return.
Living Psalm for Epiphany 7C: Psalm 37:1-11 was written 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.