My Lord, I know not what I ought to ask of Thee. Thou and Thou alone knowest my needs. Thou lovest me more than I am able to love Thee. O Father, grant unto me, Thy servant, all which I cannot ask. For a cross I dare not ask, nor for consolation; I dare only to stand in Thy presence. My heart is open to Thee. Thou seest my needs of which I myself am unaware. Behold and lift me up! In Thy presence I stand, awed and silenced by Thy will and Thy judgments, into which my mind cannot penetrate. To Thee I offer myself as a sacrifice. No other desire is mine but to fulfill Thy will. Teach me how to pray. Do Thyself pray within me. Amen.
– Prayer of St. Philaret, Metropolitan of Moscow
Warba is on Highway 2
181 souls surrounded by nothing in particular
2 churches. 1 garage, and 1 bar
With a main street mostly vacant and shuttered
What makes people live in such a place
Where most of what you need is somewhere else?
Perhaps its force of habit,
Roots that will not release their hold
Or the dreams of those who founded the place
unwilling to die while reality watches
Maybe this is all the people who live there want
2 churches, 1 garage, and a bar.
and they’re willing to put up a sign
to make people slow down to 30 mph
and bear witness.
stars and wind and night and the beginning of autumn
the streets go quiet as the lights go on from house to house
the world settles to its rest, now the day is spent
with its controversy and the sweat of the brow
to sleep, as the poet says, and perchance to dream
and in those dreams find the wildness, the adventure,
the beautiful places where hearts go in the night
flying about on wings possessed by those who sleep
tomorrow is soon enough here and when it comes
the lights, the noises, the world, will rouse in a kind of fury
but for tonight there is sleep, and dreams, and an elusive calm
And on this night
When hell is broken and withered
Where light ineffable pierces gloom of night
Angels sing, with choirs of saints beyond number
Those who wait in shadows
See sunlight with the break of morning
And on this night
I see Your grave, and mine to come
Without fear and without the eyes of shame
All things fade away and so will I
Yet Your grave is clean and bright and empty
and this will stay the same.
And on this night
I, dressed in joyful white and fatigued in grace
Sing Life at an altar made with mortal hands
My music awaits another place and time
A purer lyric, illumined words
At an altar transcending time itself.
And on this night
The dark has lost its peril
Across the world the voices call Your praise
In hope and knowing Life itself prevails
Accept this gift of mortals who see in You their hope
and grant us Light which never fades away.
blowing through the windows as night settles in on my neighborhood. It’s the kind of cool breeze that whispers of a summer fading and the autumn to come. Short warm days, cool and dark nights, everything settling in its seasons.
Its been hot and dry and dry and hot for what seems like forever. The grass is dry, we all are dry, and yet the sky has been hard and brittle, yielding its life in dribs and drabs. Nothing of substance has fallen for days. A week without rain is a vacation. A month without it is a disaster in the making. Every promise of something good has been in vain. Every prediction has been in error. Every vision of relief is a mirage.
I, too, am hard and brittle, dry without and within for what seems like, well, who knows how long. I am tired and worn but not afraid. Sometimes overwhelmed but not conquered. Like the grass that turns brown knowing the rains to come will restore its lush and fertile green, I too, wait in my thirsty brown cover. I wait for the God who causes the rain to fall on the evil and the good to let his rain fall on me.
And as I write this the cool breeze of this night reminds me that even the fury of summer’s drought is not eternal. A few more days, perhaps, and the rain will come, for the world outside my little house in the city and, as God is merciful, for me as well. Until then I, and the hard brown world, will wait.
Death be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadfull, for, thou art not so,
For, those, whom thou think’st, thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poore death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleepe, which but thy pictures bee,
Much pleasure, then from thee, much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee doe goe,
Rest of their bones, and soules deliverie.
Thou art slave to Fate, Chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poyson, warre, and sicknesse dwell,
And poppie, or charmes can make us sleepe as well,
And better then thy stroake; why swell’st thou then;
One short sleepe past, wee wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die.
Let us be thankful, Lord, for little things –
The song of birds, the rapture of the rose;
Cloud-dappled skies, the laugh of limpid springs,
Drowned sunbeams and the perfume April blows;
Bronze wheat a-shimmer, purple shade of trees –
Let us be thankful, Lord of Life, for these!
Let us be praiseful, Sire, for simple sights; –
The blue smoke curling from a fire of peat;
Keen stars a-frolicking on frosty nights,
Prismatic pigeons strutting in a street;
Daisies dew-diamonded in smiling sward –
For simple sights let us be praiseful, Lord!
Let us be grateful, God, for health serene,
The hope to do a kindly deed each day;
The faith of fellowship, a conscience clean,
The will to worship and the gift to pray;
For all of worth in us, of You a part,
Let us be grateful, God, with humble heart.