Wild Thing, You Make My Heart Sing!

May 21, 2018  “Is there anything else that wants to be said?” Why yes, there is, and what fun to to be able to share with you!  I haven’t worked out yet exactly how often to post, or exactly what.  But on this day when we in Southeast Texas have been afflicted once again with days of torrential rain and rising water, when our world is afflicted as ever with ‘storms within and storms without,’ it seems good to press forward with the aim of this website: to re-enchant the world.  Re-enchant not in the sense of magical thinking or dreamy other-worldly passivity, but in the robust sense of restoring to our anxious minds “a voice, a chime, a chant sublime of peace on earth, good will to men.”  And so I’m going to go ahead and give you my Refresh homily from last month.  With pictures!

-Phoebe

Refresh Worship Service

Trinity United Methodist Church / Beaumont, Texas

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

“Wild Thing”

Phoebe Hambright Dishman, Lay Speaker

 

Songs: #111 “How Can We Name a Love”/ #113 “Source and Sovereign “/#688 “God, Who Madest Earth and Heaven”

 

Psalm 147:1-5

Hallelujah! Praise the Lord!
How beautiful it is when we sing our praises to the beautiful God,
for praise makes you lovely before him
and brings him great delight!
The Lord builds up Jerusalem;
he gathers up the outcasts and brings them home.
He heals the wounds of every shattered heart.
He sets his stars in place, calling them all by their names.
How great is our God!
There’s absolutely nothing his power cannot accomplish,
and he has infinite understanding of everything.

 

We humans are all theologians. Did you know that?

We all say words—logos—about God—theos.

Theologians. You and me.

 

Made in God’s image, how can we help but wrestle with that image,

work to find words for the song we all sing?

 

As someone asked an atheist:

“Describe for me please this God in whom you do not believe?”

 

Even an atheist is a theologian! Of the God-wrestling persuasion…

 

Obviously, the person who wrote Psalm 147 was a theologian.

He gifted the ancient people Israel with words about God,

words to sing as they made their pilgrim way to their holy city.

 

And still we sing their ancient song.

As we make our pilgrim way.

As we evolve. As we learn, as we part the curtains

with our science, and our dreaming,

And God smiling to see just when we will find the wonders God has prepared. Just as a baby finds her hands, and her feet.

 

Barbara Brown Taylor is a contemporary theologian of some renown. She says this about God:

 

In Sunday school, I learned to think of God as a very old white-bearded man on a throne, who stood above creation and occasionally stirred it with a stick. When I am dreaming quantum dreams, what I see is an infinite web of relationship, flung across the vastness of space like a luminous net. It is made of energy, not thread. As I look, I can see light moving through it as a pulse moves through veins. What I see “out there” is no different from what I feel inside. There is a living hum that might be coming from my neurons but might just as well be coming from the furnace of the stars. When I look up at them there is a small commotion in my bones, as the ashes of dead stars that house my marrow rise up like metal filings toward the magnet of their living kin.

 

A living hum. A small commotion in my bones. Yessss!

Do you feel the joy? Hallelujah!

 

As for me, I have written a different response to Psalm 147.

With thanks to the Troggs, circa 1966,

and my own impressions so far of life on planet Earth,

it goes like this:

 

Wild thing, you make my heart sing

Wild thing, beyond which there is nothing and no greater

You are:

 

Surge of joy

Burst of creativity

Flash of inspiration

 

You are blessing

You are breaking

 

You are Divine Dance

You are love outpoured and ever refreshed

You are wine you are bread you are living water

You are community

You are engine for peace and fuel for justice

You are fire

You are dunamis, dynamite

You are purpose and passion and praise

 

You are Will

To be done on earth as in heaven

 

And we, made in your image

Oh my we are

Wild Things

You make my heart sing

For we are cherished

Precious

In all our imperfect particularity

 

Particularity, yes

The little things of every day

The little things

 

You are a wild darling of a baby rabbit, flushed from the liriope

By the intrusion of my water hose

A wee furry rabbit, wild and yet so young and trusting

That it allows me to touch

Its shining fur

IMG_0324.jpg

You are the wild flower my sister saw on Beech Creek

You are the camera she captured it with, the love she shared with me

You are the wild science of shape, and color, and name

You are the religion, that is, the meaning

we brazenly assign to a humble flower:

Purple of Advent, trinity of petals, fleeting life,

nestled in the arms of eternal glory

IMG_8829.jpg

                                                                             [photo by Kate Hambright, May 2018]

You are, when I need a new car

And I’m pretty sure I want the same sedate silver

I’ve driven for years

But what I drive home

Is ruby red

A prodigal Pentecost

An extravagance

A praise

You are

A wild thing

In a red car

IMG_0407.jpg

You are my friend who was stricken

Who said to me, I don’t know how to be this sick

And then the dread of a deeper problem

And the relief when it was not so

You are the joy of my friend, who says, I’m better

I’m back!

 

You are my friend and friend to many who asked us to ‘say more’

You are his smile

You are his body now ashes—or is it stardust?—and you are his voice now gone. Or is it?

IMG_0358.jpg

You are the wild red cardinal in my back yard

the day my friend died

And you are my shattered heart as I watch the cardinal

The eternity in its ‘cheer cheer cheer’

IMG_1011.jpg

You are my reverie

And you are my shriek as I see a movement at my feet

And I look down to see an enormous king snake

Who shrieks right back at sight of me

Silently shrieks

and speeds away across my feet

into the azaleas

 

You are Jesus the teacher his voice now gone—or is it?—who said

Be ye shrewd as snakes

And harmless as doves

Unknown-5.jpg

                      [medallion designed by John Wesley for his chapel in London]

You are the ones who love that man

The play of his mind, the stories he told

You are the ones who follow other ways of kindness and compassion

Of repairing the world

 

You are my new granddaughter

Growing every day

Her smiles her inexplicable storms

Her small body nestled in our arms

 

You are life new life

Ever emerging

In new and wondrous forms

 

And we circle up and say to a newborn:

We love you and support you on your journey

 

And when the darkness falls on one of ours

We circle that one and say

We love you and support you on your journey

 

And you, you are the circle of the words we speak to each other

At the beginning, through the journey, at the end

 

You are us, made for each other

 

You are sprightly treasure

And noble delight

 

You are pilgrim way

 

You are now

Forever you are

 

Creative purpose

And the possibility of things going wrong

 

You are the courage to love what will surely die

 

You are resurrection

The kiss we crave

The loss we dread

 

You are birthing and bearing what we must bear

 

You are fullness and emptiness

You are gutted animal keening

and you are logic and sober reflection

 

You are the remnant

The rallying of the reasonable

That which may—or may not—

emerge from disruption and chaos

 

You are stardust flung out

The strange attraction

The song in our bones

 

You are the river moving in us

Our reason to get up in the morning

Our comfort as we close our eyes

 

You are our mystification

And our joy

 

And you know what?

I think the love is mutual

 

Wild thing

 

You are I AM

far beyond our knowing

 

You are closer than our breath

 

You are the everlasting arms

 

You are the Eternal One

 

Hallelujah!

 

All praise to our beautiful God.

 

Postscript:

 

Every sermon should ask you to do something.

So here it is:

Go thou forth from here, my wild things, my darlings.

Find some words of your own for God.

And be ye constrained

By nothing less than Love.

To live any smaller than Love may be sufficient.

But it’s not complete. We need to be holy. We need to be whole.

 

Amen.

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