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Showing posts from October, 2007

Further on Communion

I included Levertov poem in the UUCF communion (previous post) for a reason: because it speaks to the skeptic in all of us who questions the morality of God who allows the innocent to suffer etc.

I think that this is an important question for many UU's. The poem is about the necessity of confronting the reality of suffering before it can be moved beyond, or redeemed. For over 10 years, I have reading and re-reading this poem because it shows, but does not explain, the redemption of suffering without explaining it.

The reality of the world is that there is much unjust suffering, some at the hands of human beings and some at the hands of fate.

Somehow, that suffering can, in some situations, be redeemed: creating compassion in others, gratitude. Witness the many nurses who deal with death and suffering all the time, but become even more compassionate as a result, and not more callous, which might well be a more probable result. The fact is that some suffering is redeemed -- Mandela…

Denise Levertov's Poem about Thomas

There has been some discussion on blogs and email lists about this poem that I read at the UUCF communion service in Portland, OR this spring. Much has been said about its content and tone. Read it for yourself.

Denise Levertov

St. Thomas Didymus

In the hot street at noon I saw him
a small man
gray but vivid, standing forth
beyond the crowd's buzzing
holding in desperate grip his shaking
teethgnashing son,

and thought him my brother.

I heard him cry out, weeping and speak
those words,
Lord, I believe, help thou
mine unbelief,

and knew him
my twin:

a man whose entire being
had knotted itself
into the one tightdrawn question,
Why,
why has this child lost his childhood in suffering,
why is this child who will soon be a man
tormented, torn, twisted?
Why is he cruelly punished
who has done nothing except be born?

The twin of my birth
was not so close
as that man I heard
say what my heart
sighed with each beat, my breath silently
cried in and out,
in and o…