Throughout my Lenten journey, the poetry of Mary Oliver has been both a comfort and a challenge to me. I shared her poem "When Death Comes" with those of you who attended our Ash Wednesday service to begin the season; as we prepare to gather tonight at 7 PM for a Maundy Thursday service to conclude the Lenten journey, I offer another one of her poems for your reflection on this holy day:
The grass never sleeps.
Or the roses.
Nor does the lily have a secret eye that shuts until morning.
Jesus said, wait with me. But the disciples slept.
The cricket has such splended fringe on its feet,
and it sings, have you noticed, with its whole body,
and heaven knows if it ever sleeps.
Jesus said, wait with me. And maybe the stars did, maybe
the wind wound itself into a silver tree, and didn't move,
the lake far away, where once he walked as on a
lay still and waited, wild awake.
Oh the dear bodies, slumped and eye-shut, that could not
keep that vigil, how they must have wept,
so utterly human, knowing this too
must be part of the story.
-Mary Oliver (from her poetry collection Thirst)