Divine and Dusty: Embodied Prayers for Lent

Wednesday, March 10, 2021


Katie Snipes Lancaster

Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night declares knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words; their voice is not heard; yet their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In the heavens God has set a tent for the sun, which comes out like a bridegroom from the wedding canopy, and like a strong one runs its course with joy. Psalm 19:2–5

I want to sit by the bank of the river,
in the shade of the evergreen tree,
And look in the face of whatever,
the whatever that’s waiting for me.

There comes a point when everything starts to dust away
More quickly than it appears,
when what we have to comfort the dark
Is just that dust, and just its going away.

25 years I used to sit on this jut of rocks
As the sun went down like an offering through the glaze
And backfires of Monterey Bay,
And anything I could think of was mine because it was there
in front of me, numinously everywhere,
Appearing and piling up . . .

So to have come to this,
remembering what I did do, and what I
didn’t do,
The gulls whimpering over the boathouse,
the monarch butterflies
Cruising the flower beds,
And all the soft hairs of spring thrusting up through the wind,
And the sun, as it always does,
dropping into its slot without a click,
Is a short life of trouble.
—Charles Wright, “The Other Side of the River” (excerpt)

In the face of the great whatever,
the unknown unknown
that perches on our windowsill,
we need you:
in the waiting,
in the watching,
in the wondering we need you.
Remember us, O God.
Wordless, let the sunrise voice your presence,
and bear us up into the mystery of this day.

March 10, 2021

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