That Quiet Mystery
Those of you who were able to stop by our Good Friday meditation know the care that Kelsey took in preparing the space (and Stanley the music). It was a beautiful mosaic of art and music and word and silence, centered on different stations inviting you to engage the story of Good Friday in different ways.
One of the stations featured poems printed on card-stock that gestured, in different ways, toward the themes of Lent, Holy Week, and Easter. One poem in particular stopped me in my tracks and, candidly, provided the lens through which I prepared for Easter morning.
It’s a poem by the great mystical poet, Denise Levertov, called "Primary Wonder.”
Days pass when I forget the mystery.
Problems insoluble and problems offering
their own ignored solutions
jostle for my attention, they crowd its antechamber
along with a host of diversions, my courtiers, wearing
their colored clothes; cap and bells.
once more the quiet mystery
is present to me, the throng's clamor
recedes: the mystery
that there is anything, anything at all,
let alone cosmos, joy, memory, everything,
rather than void: and that, O Lord,
Creator, Hallowed One, You still,
hour by hour sustain it.
“Days pass when I forget the mystery,” she confesses. Things get in the way—problems, worries, minutia, all “diversions,” stealing her attention. I heard her confession, and offered my own.
“And then,” the stanza breaks, “once more the quiet mystery is present to me…the mystery that there is anything, anything at all,” let alone the beauty and wonder and texture woven into creation, “rather than the void.”
As Frederick Buechner has defined grace, “You might never have been, and yet here you are.”
Easter, of course, is a meditation on the resurrection of Jesus and the power of God to defeat the powers of death. But for me this year, before I was able to approach that central mystery of our faith, I had to first be present to that quiet mystery that there is life at all, and that God, hour by hour, sustains it.