Friday Five: The Long Path

Today the Rev Gal Friday Five questions focus on art–its place in women’s lives and its place in worship.  My mind immediately jumped to a poem I once read.  It’s from the Navajo Night Way Ceremony.  It goes like this:

In beauty, may I walk.
All day long, may I walk.
Through the returning seasons, may I walk.

Beautifully I will possess again.
Beautifully birds…
Beautifully joyful birds…

On the trail marked with pollen, may I walk.
With grasshoppers about my feet, may I walk.
With dew about my feet, may I walk.

With beauty, may I walk.
With beauty before me, may I walk.
With beauty behind me, may I walk.
With beauty above me, may I walk.
With beauty all around me, may I walk.

In old age, wandering on a trail of beauty,
lively, may I walk.
In old age, wandering on a trail of beauty,
living again, may I walk.

It is finished in beauty.
It is finished in beauty.

I thought of this poem because I believe our lives are filled with beauty and with art.  In the way we walk, in what we notice on the path–the grasses flowering in the fall, the leaves turning, the splash of water on a rock.  

Art is there in the placement of a vase on a table, in the serving of a meal, in the draping of a scarf around the neck, in the arrangement of words on a page–even in the stacking of fabric on a cupboard shelf.  

I often find a piece of art shaping my notions of life and thus finding a back door into my preaching and my prayer.  I’m reminded of two paintings at the de Young museum in San Francisco:  one takes me to the cross,

the other speaks volumes about women’s lives.  Though it hasn’t been displayed since the old de Young closed more than ten years ago, you can find it on-line.  It’s called “The Eavesdropper”.  Here it is:  

So often I have found myself on the outside looking or listening in.  That used to bother me and still does sometimes.  But I have come to value that outsider role.  It often gives a broader picture.

There’s a painting I turn to every advent.  I saw it in a museum in Munich and found myself transfixed.  You’ll find it at the top of this post.  It’s called “The Long Path to Bethlehem.”  It’s a path I find myself walking day after day as I search for God being born in the stable of my life and in the stable of the lives of those I encounter on the way.  

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3 Responses to Friday Five: The Long Path

  1. yes yes yes to your creative thoughts here.. TY!

  2. That poem is breathtaking. Thank you so much for your art reflections, and for playing!

  3. leah says:

    beautiful play; I esp love your opening poem! and thanks for coming on board my fb page!

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