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Even the Pagans Got a Little Something Right

September 27, 2011

“Welcome Morning” by Anne Sexton

There is joy
in all:
in the hair I brush each morning,
in the Cannon towel, newly washed,
that I rub my body with each morning,
in the chapel of eggs I cook
each morning,
in the outcry from the kettle
that heats my coffee
each morning,
in the spoon and the chair
that cry, “hello there, Anne”
each morning,
in the godhead of the table
that I set my silver, plate, cup upon
each morning.

All this is God,
right here in my pea-green house
each morning
and I mean,
though I often forget,
to give thanks,
to faint down by the kitchen table
in prayer of rejoicing
as the holy birds at the kitchen window
peck into their marriage of seeds.

So while I think of it,
let me paint a thank-you on my palm
for this God, this laughter of the morning,
lest it go unspoken.

The Joy that isn’t shared, I’ve heard,
dies young.

“Such a sacramental imagination can make people nervous: It wavers on the edge, we worry, of confusing God with his creation. But while the doctrine police get worried about blurring the Creator/creature distinction and thus position themselves at a distance from this enchanted space, they unwittingly evacuate the world of its charge and grandeur. In the name of avoiding the so-called paganism they find here, they end up with a flattened “nature” that is only a symbol or pointer rather than being creation that is charged with the Spirit’s presence which makes it more than material. But that is the worry of those who lack imagination, who think truth only adheres in propositions and doctrines. At the end of the day, we shouldn’t be surprised that it is poets who better intuit and express the elements of a Christian social imaginary and the sacramental imagination.”

(James K.A. Smith, Desiring the Kingdom, 147-148)

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