As some readers may be aware, I have been doing a Facebook LIVE post everyday since mid-March called "A Poem and a Prayer." Each day I read a poem and offer a brief prayer, usually focusing on current events. I have made a special effort in recent weeks to include poetry written by Black poets like Maya Angelou, Langston Hughes, Tracey K. Smith and others.
This morning I used a wonderful poem by Bohemian-Austrian poet Rainer Maria Rilke called "You are the future." It comes from a volume called Rilke's Book of Hours--Love Letters to God. It speaks of the many ways we try to describe God, ways that reflect the ultimate futility of such a task. For God, by definition, is above and beyond all definition.
OK, so here's my point. The Rilke poem (which may would describe as mystical) wasn't, isn't, directly related to any particular current event or issue du jour. And my brief commentary on the poem, as well as my prayer, could have been transmitted on any day, in most any year. And somehow, I felt a bit . . . I'm not sure, guilty? Guilty of what I don't know. Maybe guilty of having my head in the clouds when there is so much pain and misery right here on the ground. But then I got to thinking about the poem itself. My favorite line in it refers to God, and reads: "You are the deep innerness of all things . . . " God, the poet is saying, isn't somewhere out there--above and beyond all that we face here and now. God is right in the midst of it. God is at the very core of life itself. All life. Here--and there--and everywhere.
So, assuming that is correct (and I do assume that is correct) then the secret to resolving our various problems rests in looking for the Holy hidden within each thing, each creature, each person, and then respecting that being as an expression of the Holy. In Christian circles (or at least some Christian circles) we call that incarnation. Amazing.
(If you are Facebook user, I invite you to join me for A Poem and a Prayer, usually sent out at 9:30am. I can be found on Facebook at John H Danner.)