Art, Poetry, Music, and Nature for the New Year
Sunday, January 10 2021
The Reverend Dr. Katie Snipes Lancaster
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. Isaiah 43:2
Grace, by Rafael Jesús González
Bicultural and bilingual poet Rafael Jesús González grew up in and between both El Paso, Texas and Juárez, Chihuahua, finding the porous border between his Mexican and American identity as inseparable as his dual mother tongues of Spanish and English found in his poetry. His Catholic upbringing as well as his attentiveness to an earthy spirituality make this poem about gratitude essential to who he is.
González says, “Right now, our country and our culture are based upon anxiety. Our culture measures a person’s worth in dollar signs and in the amount of consumption in which we indulge. That produces a great deal of anxiety.” But growing up with one foot in Mexico gave him a different perspective. The song and celebration that seeps into the streets on Mexican holidays showed him that there is another way. “From my point of view,” he says, “we were never kicked out of paradise. We just screwed the place up royally. Now, we have a lot of work to do in this world of ours that we realize is smaller all the time. We must begin with music, singing, dance, and the arts. They are gone now from so many schools. We must begin again to teach these most essential things: the arts, the importance of love, and ways to find and celebrate our joy together.”
O Lord of the Dance, may music, singing, dance and the arts seep into our lives this day. Amen.
Rafael Jesús González: “Grace”
Thanks & blessings be
to the Sun & the Earth
for this bread & this wine,
this fruit, this meat, this salt,
thanks be & blessing to them
who prepare it, who serve it;
thanks & blessings to them
who share it
(& also the absent & the dead).
Thanks & blessing to them who bring it
(may they not want),
to them who plant & tend it,
harvest & gather it
(may they not want);
thanks & blessing to them who work
& blessing to them who cannot;
may they not want—for their hunger
sours the wine & robs
the taste from the salt.
Thanks be for the sustenance & strength
for our dance & work of justice, of peace.