Guest post — Poems for such a time as this, Rev. Hope Harle-Mould

My guest post this Thursday is two poems by Hope-Douglas Harle-Mould, a seminary classmate of mine (more about him below) My great thanks for this gift.

Hope in the Cracks

In the cracks,
there’s always hope:

Where a new world is not only possible
but already on the way,
seeping in
unseen,
flooding forth
imperceptibly,
with resurrecting light
opening a new way,
with healing touch
midwifing a new day.

Believe it,
for this is true:

In the cracks,
there’s always hope.

I originally wrote the line, “there’s hope in the cracks,” in a poem-story, “Ellipses…” for the UCC God Is Still Speaking story contest a dozen years back, which I lost. I always wanted to write a poem with that title, and finally this was the time.

Across Six Feet of Separation — A poem for such a time as this

Across six feet of separation
the virus can’t spread, but fear can run rampant—
you afraid of me, me afraid of you.
Across six feet of separation,
our world careens in tumult, our minds in shellshocked muddle—
too aghast to see the way ahead.
Across six feet of separation
my grandkids can no longer race into my arms—
banned from even nearing my house.
Across six feet of separation
one daughter is laid off from her restaurant,
one risks her health daily, nursing the disabled at her group home.
Across six feet of separation
our church can’t enact its five-amazing-minutes of Passing the Peace—
can’t even gather to pray or hear holy words of promise.

Inside six feet of separation
a presence pulsing with consoling calm and soothing balm,
whispering near our ear, “Be still…and know that I am God.”
Inside six feet of separation
is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen—
“Fear not, I have redeemed you, I have called you by name, you are mine.”
Inside six feet of separation
are the outstretched arms of our Teacher, spanning the gap—
the Stillpoint of our turning world.
Inside six feet of separation
there is a voice in the storm, commanding, “Be still!”—
and in the ensuing silence…a peace so serene we weep.
Inside six feet of separation
a song fragment wells up within us, unbidden, transcendent—
till suddenly we realize why…and sing unabashed and free.

Spanning six feet of separation
I warmly greet each passing stranger formerly ignored: “Be safe!”—
and they reply, “We’ll get through this together!”
Spanning six feet of separation
I use American Sign Language to tell people, “Peace be with you,”
and as they mirror me, our hands caress across spider-web touch.
Spanning six feet of separation
I escape outside for a walk, blustery wind blushing my face,
then inexplicably burst into run—joy irrepressible.
Spanning six feet of separation
I sense tree roots beneath my feet, linked by fungal networks to other trees,
and I pause in awe at the anthem encompassing me.
Spanning six feet of separation
I see another world is possible—each soul a daughter or grandchild of mine,
each moment a trust-fall of reconciling hope.

Across six feet of separation
generations of the faithful join us to leap the rift, as fearlessly we sing a new song:
“We are held in holy hands, by a Love That Will Not Let Us Go.”

“Across Six Feet of Separation” partly germinated from an image in one of my sermons years ago about the woman with the flow of blood—her faith and hope for healing across the last two inches before her touch reached Christ’s robe.

How long is six feet? Thanks to the Duluth News Tribune

Mr. Hope Douglas J. Harle-Mould is a United Church of Christ (UCC) minister serving as a supply preacher (“the preacher with props”) in churches throughout Western New York and is dedicated to a Ministry of the Pen—freelance writing. He is an active member of Pilgrim St. Luke’s UCC in Buffalo, NY, an open and affirming church, and is on their Welcoming Refugees team.
Ordained in 1978, he has served as community organizer (farmworkers’ movement), assistant prison chaplain, campus minister, youth & Christian Education pastor, visitation pastor, senior pastor, and founding director of an interfaith peacebuilding organization. He has done volunteer service in Sierra Leone, Ghana, and Honduras.
He is co-author of Talking with Your Child about God’s Story (United Church Press) and has written senior high materials for three ecumenical curricula. His writings regularly appear in the devotional magazines The Upper Room, These Days, and in the Mennonite magazine purpose.
His children’s stories have been published in many periodicals: “The Shut-In Freedom Fighter,” “The Parade of Misfits,” “Ahmad’s Hat,” “The Girl Who Never Missed a Sunday,” “The Boy Who Came in Last,” “You Can’t Promise Anything,” “Just Pass It On,” “The Land of Sharing,” and “Awakened by a Dream.”
Hope received his B.A. in Religion & English from Carroll University in Waukesha, WI (and Schiller College in Germany) in 1975, and received his M.Div. from Union Theological Seminary, New York City, in 1978.
He lives in Kenmore, NY (Buffalo suburb), with his wife of 40 years, Linda, also a UCC minister, near their three adopted children and four grandchildren. He loves stargazing, walking in creation, Frisbee, community theater, performing poetry, writing songs for guitar, and listening to the cooing of his white dove, Gracie.
Hope’s unusual first name started out as a nickname at church camp, where he was a counselor for two full summers. Afterwards, as friends and family continued to call him Hope, he realized this was his spiritual name, his day-to-day calling. At age 22, the day after graduating from college, he legally changed his name to Hope—a gift first given by God’s children.
Hope is currently active with Justice for Migrant Families, the Interfaith Climate Justice Coalition, the Network of Religious Communities, and the Western New York Peace Center.

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6 Responses to Guest post — Poems for such a time as this, Rev. Hope Harle-Mould

  1. Pingback: COCU30A.HolySaturday.11April2020 | pilgrimwr.unitingchurch.org.au

  2. Pingback: COCU23A.Lent 5A.29March2020 | pilgrimwr.unitingchurch.org.au

  3. revcindywb says:

    Greetings Maren,

    I’m sorry to keep asking you this question… Can we share these poems in online worship and / or daily meditations? Is there a way I could ask Rev. Harle-Mould?

    Thank you for the gifts you keep providing in this time.

    Peace,

    Cindy

    >

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