And in All

Yesterday I stood before the congregation to read from the Letter to the Ephesians, that God is above all and through all and in all. This passage was the same as three years ago; our churches follow the lectionary, a three-year cycle, in which this is one of the Scriptures designated for the Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time.

In August, 2009, these same words from Ephesians, the fourth chapter, were the beginning of my poem, “Communion.” But yesterday, August 5, 2012, was hardly the same as that near-perfect Sunday afternoon of three years ago. Yesterday we came home from church to hear news of six worshipers killed in a Sikh temple in Wisconsin; this terror had taken place at the very time we had been gathered with our own friends at the Lord’s table.

Late in the day, a leader of the Sikh community promised prayers for the family of the aggressor as well as for the families of the victims—because, he said, we are all children of God. In my poem, now here for you to read, I had wished to be an open soul, at peace. There are in this world and in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, men and women of peace.

Communion

Worship was at eleven, now it is
past three, and I am at home again
on the porch, in my accustomed chair.

The porch screen, while keeping out
mosquitoes, gnats, and flies, lets in
all the great outdoors: breezes washing

through the cottonwoods, songs of birds
and of the first crickets, a neighbor’s
wind chimes, the rumbling heartbeats of

youth cruising Main, three blocks over—
–and today, the first Sunday in August,
shimmering of poplars, silver cobwebby

threads adrift on nearer sky, shadows
of the blue spruce. I could wish to be
thus, neither a wall nor a window,

instead, an open soul, at peace; for as
was read in church today, God is above
all and—think of this—through all and in all.

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