Don’t miss my latest on Red Letter Christians: “What does it mean to be disembodied?”
I attended a virtual birthday party the other day and the guests were asked to each bring a poem. One has stuck with me ever since because of this line: “We must risk delight.” In an often brutal and uncertain world, daring to delight is an act of divine resistance, and we must take this risk as often as we can.
How will you risk delight this week?
Sorrow everywhere. Slaughter everywhere. If babies
are not starving someplace, they are starving
somewhere else. With flies in their nostrils.
But we enjoy our lives because that’s what God wants.
Otherwise the mornings before summer dawn would not
be made so fine. The Bengal tiger would not
be fashioned so miraculously well. The poor women
at the fountain are laughing together between
the suffering they have known and the awfulness
in their future, smiling and laughing while somebody
in the village is very sick. There is laughter
every day in the terrible streets of Calcutta,
and the women laugh in the cages of Bombay.
If we deny our happiness, resist our satisfaction,
we lessen the importance of their deprivation.
We must risk delight. We can do without pleasure,
but not delight. Not enjoyment. We must have
the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless
furnace of this world. To make injustice the only
measure of our attention is to praise the Devil.
If the locomotive of the Lord runs us down,
we should give thanks that the end had magnitude.
We must admit there will be music despite everything.
We stand at the prow again of a small ship
anchored late at night in the tiny port
looking over to the sleeping island: the waterfront
is three shuttered cafés and one naked light burning.
To hear the faint sound of oars in the silence as a rowboat
comes slowly out and then goes back is truly worth
all the years of sorrow that are to come.
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Camino for Good
I’m walking the Camino de Santiago virtually starting March 1st! The signup fees go to help the hostel owners who have been impacted so badly by the pandemic that some may lose their businesses without some help. I hope to one day walk it in person, but this is a fun challenge for a good cause, and the app is rather robust with pictures of the towns you pass and so forth. Join me! Sign up here.
When the mercy that you need might be the mercy you need to give as well as the mercy you need to receive...
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