Art, Poetry, Music, and Nature for the New Year
Friday, January 8 2021
The Reverend Dr. Katie Snipes Lancaster
For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?’ Then he will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me. Matthew 25:42–45
Winter can be a bear, but did you know it can also carry a hawk? Tom Skilling says that when the winter weather is icy-cold and damp, and the winds blow into our fair city of Chicago off Lake Michigan, that bone-chilling wind is called the “Hawk” flying in with a biting-sharp, cold hawk-claw. You’ll hear reference to it in Steve Goodman’s song “A Dying Cub Fan’s Last Request,” and in Jerry Seinfield’s interview of Steve Harvey on Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, and it says something poetic about the intensity of these January days.
In her new book The Stillness of Winter: Sacred Blessings of the Season, Barbara Mahany reminds us of the spiritual power of the Hawk. “There is something mystical about the drama of a winter storm,” she writes. “You can’t help but feel small as the sky turns marbled gray, the winds pick up, howl. Trees commence their thrashing. It’s a fine thing for the human species to remember the amplitude of what we’re up against.”
God of winter wind and warm shelter be with us as we stand in awe of the immensity of it all. Amen.