11/21/2007

Perfect: a small Thanksgiving Meditation remark.

Listening to Tom Waits singing "Diamonds in Your Mind" at night in Lewes, the village on the edge of the Ocean, with a waxing Gibbous Moon in a clear sky.

Perfect.

Somewhere in the mind and heart of each of us is that moment: the moment called perfect.

In the past I have at one time or another longed for that moment only to find that when I counted up the facts perfection became an illusion and disappeared off into the future or the past, or worse, escaped my present.

Too much I.

Time weighs heavily. Ferleinghetti may have been perpetually awaiting a rebirth of wonder but I am tired of waiting. The infant was born twenty centuries ago. What's taking us so long to get? Anticipation can only take us so far. The second coming is a sham if He doesn't pass this way soon.

Wait without waiting is what there is.

Prayer doesn't work. Too much a hand full of gimme and a mouth full of much obliged. Whatever our list of petitions, praises, penances and adorations, thanksgivings, intercessions, and on and on, they all seem failures. We need more than what we have for words, we have less than what we need of inner peace.

Prayer without praying is what there is.

Revolution is in the air, but the beast is eating at our bowels. By the time we pull ourselves up by the bootstraps the rats will be eating our liver and the money men will own it all. Action doesn't work. The worms have a lead on us.

Action without action is what there is.

For this moment there is no waiting, no prayer, no action, there is no thing. For this moment, and splashing out beyond the distant past and future, there is this:

Perfect.

It is Thanksgiving, an event on the civil religion calendar; the occasion for offering thanks to God for all God's graciousness towards us as a people and to remember how blessed we are.

We might turn our thoughts to recounting such matters. But perhaps we might let it all go. Perhaps, as the occasion arises, we could rise up in delight and thanksgiving and say, "perfect."

Perfect is near at hand.

Thankgiving is mostly the "Ah" in recognizing the perfect.

Eat some bread; drink some wine. Share time with a thou. Find Jesus close as your friend.

Perfect.

Happy Thanksgiving.



5 comments:

  1. Perfect, Mark. A wonderful poem.
    My beloved and I are headed your way this morning for Thanksgiving with my brothers in Lewes! It's 5:23 and we'll be on the road by
    7, there sometime after noon, so will miss going to church at the Cathedral Of All Lewes. But please give thanks with me that nine months of chemo and radiation treatments for breast cancer are over and I am well! May God bless and keep you and yours, and Happy Thanksgiving.
    Lois Keen

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you for this.

    Thanks and praise to the Lord of harvest.

    FWIW
    jimB

    ReplyDelete
  3. Mark, delete this. I don't want to rain on your posting or discourage anyone, but I couldn't find an email address to write you directly.

    You say, "Find Jesus close as your friend."

    Oops. That's not what I thought you said.

    I read it as "Find Jesus as your close friend." I'm not sure what your actual words mean. But my concern remains. In my experience, "Jesus" is a concept we hear about and build up by meditation. Jesus isn't There, waiting to be Found.

    Perhaps others have spiritual experiences. I tried from age six to forty-five to feel all the things the Baptists and then the Episcopalians said one should feel, but -- nothing. Now I think that "spirit" is an illusion, confused with consciousness. Consciousness is an effect of our organism; we aren't figures animated by spirit, we're organisms that move and think by physical processes.

    Your statement reminded me uncomfortably of myself as a youth wondering why everyone else could speak so glibly of Jesus, and Jesus was a blank wall for me. If you have found Jesus as a Friend, fine. I suspect most people who talk that way, if they aren't just doing what everyone seems to be doing, have managed to construct an imaginary friend as some children seem to do.

    Religious blather, like our new presiding bishop indulges in, is putting me off. I read Preludium daily for your realistic and reasonable comments. This little whiff of spiritualism was jarring.

    But you know your experience. I only know mine. All the best to you.

    Murdoch Matthew (gary's spouse)
    New York City
    murdmatt@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  4. Mark, forgive this off topic post, but I couldn't figure out how to get an email to you directly.
    I thought you should see (if you haven't already) the column by Michael Valpy in today's Globe and Mail. Please delete this comment from this thread (since it isn't relevant) once you have read it.
    Thanks,
    Denbeau (benetech500@yahoo.com)

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20071124.ANGLICANS24/TPStory/?query=anglican+valpy



    Anglicans, archbishop up in arms over schism in church

    MICHAEL VALPY

    November 24, 2007

    TORONTO -- The schism in Canadian Anglicanism turned ugly at week's end with threatened fights over ownership of church buildings, hints of swift punishment for rebellious priests and the uncrating of an alternative church structure for clergy and laity who reject openness toward homosexuals.

    As conservative denomination members attending a two-day conference in Burlington, Ont., heard plans for the orthodox Anglican Church in South America to establish a parallel jurisdiction in Canada, the primate of the Canadian church announced he would issue a letter next week to be read in all Anglican parishes.

    Archbishop Fred Hiltz's letter is expected to be temperate, but to explain that the head of what is known as the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone of America, Archbishop Gregory Venables, has committed an outrageous wrong by trying to extend his authority into another church jurisdiction.

    Archbishop Hiltz is also expected to make clear that congregations that vote to leave the Canadian church wouldn't be taking their buildings with them, a subject much discussed at the Burlington conference.

    In the United States, the Anglican Episcopal diocese of Virginia is fighting 11 congregations in court over ownership of church buildings. The congregations voted recently to quit the Episcopal Church and affiliate with the Anglican Church in Nigeria.

    In Canada, national Anglican leaders for the most part pointedly have made no comment on dissident activities, likely out of a desire not to polarize the issue any more than it already is.

    They were caught by surprise when a second retired bishop, Right Rev. Malcolm Harding of Manitoba, announced that he would turn in his Canadian minister's licence and join the South American Anglicans. He follows in the footsteps of retired Newfoundland bishop Donald Harvey.

    And what has brought matters to a head is the South American church's formal intrusion into Canada and the plans announced by Bishop Harvey to ordain priests in Canada.

    Well-sourced reports said that Canadian priests who have been flirting - if not climbing into bed - with the South Americans and a parallel church could find themselves disciplined in the next few days by their bishops.

    The executive body of the Canadian church, the Council of General Synod, issued a statement at its meeting this month asking Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, titular leader of the 77-million-member world Anglican Communion, to tell the South Americans to cease and desist.

    Archbishop Williams has remained silent.

    "His silence doesn't surprise us," a senior Anglican cleric said yesterday, speaking only for background.

    "But, as you know, when you avoid confrontation, you can wind up causing confrontation."

    The senior cleric said that if, as reported in one British newspaper, Archbishop Williams was exploring the idea of recognizing parallel jurisdictions, the world church would likely be irrevocably fractured.

    ReplyDelete
  5. garydasein...thanks...I'd rather not delete it. Your warning not to indulge in blather, etc is right on the point.

    In my better moments I am given to poetic excess... "Find Jesus close as your friend" may have been a bit of that.

    In some ways I think every Christian is given to accenting one or another of the persons of the Trinity... I'm a big God the Son person. That can bring on glibness.

    Still, poetic excess is not glibness, necessarily. Jesus is not an imaginary friend (or at lest I don't think so), but rather the One who has gone before and helped us all understand that thanksgiving in spite of it all is possible.

    In this little meditation I was working on that image...that somehow eating and drinking and remembering Jesus as a friend close to us particularly when we are in the perfect moment, was the answer to the imperfection of prayers and actions.

    Well, I'd like to let your remark stand. Maybe others have some comment.

    ReplyDelete

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