Thoughts for the week of 26 July

I have two things to share today.

The first is this quote from Mark Barrett, OSB, a monk of Worth Abbey in Sussex, from his book Crossing: Reclaiming the Landscape of Our Lives (US edition: Morehouse, 2001). I read this last night as part of my winding-down reading.

“Commitment is a response, not an initiative. Unless there is something that evokes from us a desire to be committed we will never be able to make that leap. Underpinning all commitments by men and women is the belief that God is committed to us. We can see all too clearly that in the absence of the rising sun of salvation, we do not have the confidence to leap on our own.” (p. 47)

The second thing is this. Back when I was much younger we had a choral recitation at my old grade school where we were made to recite in parts a poem called “The Creation,” by James Weldon Johnson. I later realized he was the one who wrote the hymn “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” And now, I learned that “The Creation” was actually one of Johnson’s attempts to capture, on the printed page, the cadences and language of the African-American preachers of the early days. The tradition still lives on–surprisingly, in the way that then-presidential candidate Barack Obama gave his stump speeches.

“The Creation” starts at page 17 of this e-book, but the others are worth reading too. And if you can read them aloud, all the better. It’s more moving that way.

But wait! There’s more!

The first time I discovered this song, I found it to be one of the most moving tunes from Bernstein, alongside “Somewhere” from West Side Story and the first movement of the Chichester Psalms.

Have a great week everyone!

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