Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Still Here

I've been swamped with work, and have been a bad blogger. I'm starting to wrap my arms around the work of this semester - finally - and am feeling much less overwhelmed by it all.

Still no resolution of the Field Ed situation. It will sort itself out. Soon, I hope.

Suddenly it is dawning on me that I am actually going to graduate this year. I just finished my resume. We will be doing our Church Deployment Office profiles soon (sort of a national database of who we are, what we're interested in, what our strengths are). General Ordination Exams are (gulp!) three months and one week away. I will have sufficient credits to graduate by the end of December, although I do have one required Christian Ed class that I will need in the spring. I will be doing my thesis, though, so I will end up taking a full load in the spring, and graduating with something like 94 credit hours.

It is exciting, frightening, confusing to be in this place which is kairos and not chronos. So I turn to a prayer that was a meditation at our class retreat this past weekend. It says much to me:

Pack nothing.
Bring only
your determination
to serve and
your willingness
to be free.

Don’t wait for the bread to rise.
Take nourishment for the journey,
but eat standing, be ready
to move at a moment’s notice.

Do not hesitate to leave
your old ways behind –
fear, silence, submission.

Only surrender to the need
of the time – to love
justice and walk humbly
with your God.

Do not take time
to explain to the neighbors.
Tell only a few trusted
friends and family members.

Then begin quickly,
before you have time
to sink back into
the old slavery.

Set out in the dark.
I will send fire
to warm and encourage you.
I will be with you in the fire
and I will be with you in the cloud.

You will learn to eat new food
and find refuge in new places.
I will give you dreams in the desert
to guide you safely home to that
you have not yet seen.

The stories you tell
one another around your fires
in the dark will make you
strong and wise.

Outsiders will attack you,
and some who follow you,
and at times you will weary
and turn on each other
from fear and fatigue and
blind forgetfulness.

You have been preparing
for this for hundreds of years.
I am sending you into the
to make a way and learn my ways
more deeply.

Those who fight you will teach you.
Those who fear you will strengthen
Those who follow you may forget
Only be faithful.
This alone matters.

Some of you will die in the desert,
for the way is longer than anyone
Some of you will give birth.

Some will join other tribes
along the way, and some
will simply stop and create
new families in a welcoming oasis.

Some of you will be so changed
by weather and wanderings
that even your closest friends
will have to learn your features
as though for the first time.
Some of you will not change at all.

Some will be abandoned
by your dearest loves
and misunderstood by those
who have known you since birth
and feel abandoned by you.

Some will find new friendship
in unlikely faces, and old friends
as faithful and true
as the pillar of God’s flame.

Wear protection.
Your flesh will be torn
as you make a path
with your bodies
through sharp tangles.
Wear protection.

Others who follow may deride
or forget the fools who first bled
where thorns once were, carrying
away in their own flesh.

Such urgency as you now bear
may embarrass you children
who will know little of these times.

Sing songs as you go,
and hold close together.
You may at times grow
confused and lose your way.

Continue to call each other
by the names I’ve given to you,
to help remember who you are.
You will get where you are going
by remembering who you are.

Touch each other and keep telling
the stories
of old bondage and of how
I delivered you.

Tell your children lest they forget
and fall into danger – remind them
even they were not born in
but under a bondage which they no
longer remember, which is still
with the, if unseen.

Or they were born
in the open desert
where no signposts are.

Make maps as you go,
remembering the way back
from before you were born.

SO long ago you fell
into slavery, slipped
into it unaware,
out of hunger and need.

You left your famished country
for freedom and food in a new
but you fell unconscious and
and slavery overtook you as you fell
asleep in the east of your life.

You no longer told stories
of home to remember
who you were.

Do not let your children sleep
through the journey’s hardship.
Keep them awake and walking
on their own feet so that you both
remain strong and on course.

So you will be only
the first of many waves
of deliverance on these
desert seas.

It is the first of many
beginnings – your Paschaltide.

Remain true to this mystery.

Pass on the whole story.
I spared you all
by calling you forth
from your chains.

Do not go back.

I am with you now
and I am waiting for you.

--"Passover Remembered" by The Rev. Alla Renee Bozarth from Women's Uncommon Prayers


Crimson Rambler said...

What a splendid poem. I did try to preach on "don't wait for the bread to rise" when that was our OT reading.
I believe I got the newsletter from your seminary the other day...most impressive! It shows up here in the Frozen North from time to time -- probably because I used to be on the mailing list for the College of Preachers -- maybe.
All blessings in all that you have on your plate this term.

Lorraine said...

Love the poem. I'm making a copy of it, if that's okay.

Funny -- our seminary lives are strangely parallel (although I didn't do my time in only three years) -- I too will have enough credits to graduate in December, although I also have that Christian Ed requirement to do in the spring. lol... So I'm sure I'll end up taking at least one elective to go along with it. And, due to the classes that are required by the PC/USA but not by the Methodists (Greek, Hebrew, exegesis in both languages, Presby polity, Reformed theology) I'll have a few more than the required 90 hours. oh well... :)

mibi52 said...

CR, I'm planning to use it for a meditation for a women's retreat I'm leading, about the juxtaposition and linkage between contemplation and action. Thanks for the blessings - they are what get me through!

Lorraine, how wild that our paths are so similar! Go ahead an reprint the poem, just include the credit as usual to the author and the book.

God's blessings to you both today.