Let the light of late afternoon
shine through chinks in the barn, moving
up the bales as the sun moves down.
Let the cricket take up chafing
as a woman takes up her needles
and her yarn. Let evening come.
Let dew collect on the hoe abandoned
in long grass. Let the stars appear
and the moon disclose her silver horn.
Let the fox go back to its sandy den.
Let the wind die down. Let the shed
go black inside. Let evening come.
To the bottle in the ditch, to the scoop
in the oats, to air in the lung
let evening come.
Let it come, as it will, and don’t
be afraid. God does not leave us
comfortless, so let evening come.
Jane Kenyon, “Let Evening Come” from Collected Poems. Copyright © 2005
March 24 is the anniversary of the assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero. This prayer, often attributed to Romero, was written by Bishop Ken Untener of Saginaw, and captures the spirit of Archbishop Romero and speaks the condition of the world today and our response to it.
It helps, now and then,
to step back and take the long view.
The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts,
it is beyond our vision.
We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction
of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work.
Nothing we do is complete,
which is another way of saying that the kingdom always lies beyond us.
No statement says all that could be said.
No prayer fully expresses our faith.
No confession brings perfection.
No pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No program accomplishes the church’s mission.
No set of goals and objectives includes everything.
This is what we are about:
We plant seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted,
knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces effects beyond our capabilities.
We cannot do everything
and there is a sense of liberation
in realizing that.
This enables us to do something,
and to do it very well.
It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning,
a step along the way,
an opportunity for God’s grace
to enter and do the rest.
We may never see the end results,
but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker.
We are workers, not master builders,
ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future not our own.
The greatest among you will be the one who serves the rest. – Matthew 23:11
…someone is on your side, no one is alone…
If you remove from your midst oppression, false accusation, and malicious speech, if you bestow your bread on the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted, then light shall rise for you in the darkness,…and God will guide you always, and give you relief in desert places. Isaiah 58:9–11
God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful.
1 Corinthians 1:27
May God bless you with discomfort
at easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships
so that you may live deep within your heart.
May God bless you with anger
at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people,
so that you may work for justice, freedom, and peace.
May God bless you with tears
to shed for those who suffer pain, rejection, hunger, and war,
so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and
to turn their pain into joy.
And may God bless you with enough foolishness
to believe that you can make a difference in the world,
so that you can do what others claim cannot be done
to bring justice and kindness to all our children and the poor.
Anyone who sets himself up as “religious” by talking a good game is self-deceived. This kind of religion is hot air and only hot air. Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, and guard against corruption from the godless world.
– James 1:26-27
Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I have come to call not the righteous but sinners. – Mark 2:17