What We Need Is Here

Living Stones

Horseback on Sunday morning, / harvest over, we taste persimmon
and wild grape, sharp sweet / of summer's end. In time's maze
over fall fields, we name names / that went west from here, names
that rest on graves. We open / a persimmon seed to find the tree
that stands in promise, / pale, in the seed's marrow.
Geese appear high over us, / pass, and the sky closes. Abandon,
as in love or sleep, holds / them to their way, clear,
in the ancient faith: what we need / is here. And we pray, not
for new earth or heaven, but to be / quiet in heart, and in eye
clear. What we need is here.
                               —“The Wild Geese” by Wendell Berry

In the wake of so many tragedies in our world—more than I can adequately name—we might be tempted to enter into a season of scarcity. There’s not enough of this.  Not enough of that. The world is burning.  The world is drowning.  Health concerns and health care cause many of us great anxiety.  We witness the prospect of nuclear annihilation being tossed around in frivolous tweets.  We experience a sinking feeling as ocean waters rise.  Even the leaves are dying and falling off the trees. There is so much loss.  So much worry.  So much grief.  So many reasons to pull in and try to insulate ourselves. 
But as I’ve been reminded lately, even and especially during this time when death seems to surround us, we are also surrounded by the deep promise and possibilities of life.  It is during this time—when leaves compost and seeds swirl down lavishly and find their way into the earth—our world is again blanketed in hope.  Beautiful possibilities are planted even in the most difficult times.  I root my faith in this belief.  Everything is not always going to go my way.  But even in the bleakest times, I believe, something beautiful is preparing to be born.  That is what I hear when Wendell Berry says, “What we need is here.”  We don’t need a new earth or heaven.  We need the fierce belief that what we need is here, the strong hope that God’s promise calls us boldly out of our insulation, and the resilient courage to unearth the beautiful possibilities that are preparing to burst forth.
So, let us take heart, dear friends, during this season of hope and possibility.  What we need is here.

See you in church,



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