Thoughts and a Prayer for a June Weekend

Praise The Lord!
Praise The Lord, O my soul!
I will praise The Lord as long as I live;
I will sing praises to my God
all my life long.
Psalm 146

I’m reading a remarkable book, My Bright Abyss, Meditation of a Modern Believer, by Christian Wiman. Wiman is a poet, the Editor of Poetry Magazine whose encounter with deadly disease prompted deep and serious thinking about what it means to be alive and a person of faith. He is a superb writer and his spiritual journey will sound familiar to many. Even during a long absence from organized religion Wiman continued to ponder the mystery of life and the longing for meaning and hope that seems to be part of every one of us regardless of our religions commitments.

It is a book that requires slow reading and thinking, and so I have begun to read just a paragraph or two each morning as a kind of devotional discipline. Thinking about the death of his grandmother when he was a young man living in West Texas, Wiman remembers the last words of Gerard Manley Hopkins, a priest and Roman Catholic Priest who died of typhoid at the age of forty-five, “I am so happy. I loved my life”.

Wiman writes: “Hopkins words are striking to me not only because it’s rare and heartening to witness someone expressing joy at a time of grief. No, it’s the last sentence that gets to me – I loved my life.”

The Psalmist was saying the same thing: “I will sing praises to my God all my life long”.

It’s a matter, finally, of seeing, noticing, paying attention which we don’t do very well what with our hurrying, scurrying about from one appointment or obligation to another. So take time to notice even in the midst of our busy city – the light blue June sky and whispy clouds, the lake glistening in the morning sun, flowers thriving in cool, wet June days and nights.

Notice people, particularly your closest and dearest, the easiest ones to take for granted and not notice.

Notice the mystery of your own life. Notice the mystery of you.

And say thank you.

Creator God,
I thank you for the beautiful world all around me, for dear people you have given me to love. Thank you for the gift of my life, all the years and months and weeks and days and minutes of it, all of it a gift from You to me. Slow me down today and help me to see and notice and pay attention. In your holy name I pray.

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