With this morning, the day after Pentecost, I begin another year of this blog “Gifts in Open Hands: A Blog for a Pentecost Year.” This blog began two years ago as a way to share prayers, poems and liturgical resources from the Pilgrim Press book of the same name I edited with Kathy Wonson Eddy, as well as inviting the one hundred and forty-seven contributors who represented forty-three countries to share new work. Some were in English; many more were in other languages.
Last year, with Maria Mankin I published From the Psalms to the Cloud — Connecting to the Digital Age which has encouraged my commitment to stay in touch with an electronic faith community. With Pentecost 2013, I re-shaped this blog to include a wider range of contributors and more of my own work.
Pentecost June 8, 2014, is again a day for fresh wind, bright fire and new language that shares a common story with many. This year at Pentecost time I am struck with how the story in Acts 2 is about … lending voices. Now, I am from the United States and we talk a lot about “finding my voice” and, particularly for those who are in under-represented and power-poor communities, that is very important. However, it is too often taken as a concept-to-the-manor-born, a right, by the powerful and privileged, among whom I am. We need to learn what the one hundred and twenty fire-touched ones — so privileged to have known Jesus of Nazareth — did. They were called to lend their voices — to speak words they didn’t shape, they didn’t know, on behalf of those who needed the story spoken in their own way. And so I begin this new year hoping to balance a voice which is my own and other voices who need to be heard and a third thing … how I am changed when I stop to listen to their voices.
Two weeks ago Matthew Stevens wrote a reflection about the Heartberry Moon, the month of June, and it led to my seeking Anishinaabe strawberry wisdom, and learning from it. I cannot take that wisdom as if it were mine, like European New Hampshire home dwellers hang dream catchers in their windows. But, knowing how many mistakes I can and will make, I can receive as a gift the wisdom of another and let it open my spirit to new possibility. So this is a poem in my voice that I wrote for Matthew in thanks for his kindness.
This year I will be posting my own work on Mondays and lending the voice of this blog to others on Thursdays. Please send your contributions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
It is June, heart-berry moon,
not that I have any right
to the old story
of the healing ways of Ode’imin,
the wisdoms of Nookomis,
except to learn,
to be one who sits in the circle,
not at its center,
to hear the storyteller.
European American born,
I listen to new strawberry wisdom –
We who have been takers
can no longer reach out and grab
whatever we want,
but, bending very low,
find and pick what heals us all.
And things most precious
will be brief.
They come silently
and, no matter how busy we are,
and we are a busy people,
they must be tasted
now, in the season they are ripe.
And this, too, perhaps,
we learn —
to call summer by our neighbors’ names –
not July and August, but
red-raspberry moon and
miin(ikaa)-giizis, blueberry moon,
for days are best lived
not under the names of conquerors
but by fruit of the spirit.