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Sabbath - a Wendell Berry poem

Eugene Peterson talks of how Sabbath keeping is a practice that helps us find wonder and joy in creation that results in worship and praise of the Creator. I think Wendell Berry's poem below on Sabbath taps into something I'm learning about the connections between us, Sabbath rest, Creation and the Creator. More than I think we regularly recognise, we were made for wonder.


Another Sunday morning comes

And I resume the standing Sabbath

Of the woods, where the finest blooms

Of time return, and where no path

Is worn but wears its makers out

At last, and disappears in leaves

Of fallen seasons. The tracked rut

Fills and levels; here nothing grieves

In the risen season. Past life

Lives in the living. Resurrection

Is in the way each maple leaf

Commemorates its kind, by connection

Outreaching understanding. What rises

Rises into comprehension

And beyond. Even falling raises

In praise of light. What is begun

Is unfinished. And so the mind

That comes to rest among the bluebells

Comes to rest in motion, refined

By alteration. The bud swells,

Opens, makes seed, falls, is well,

Being becoming what it is:

Miracle and parable

Exceeding thought, because it is

Immeasurable; the understander

Encloses understanding, thus

Darkens the light. We can stand under

No ray that is not dimmed by us.

The mind that comes to rest is tended

In ways that it cannot intend:

Is borne, preserved, and comprehended

By what it cannot comprehend.

Your Sabbath, Lord, thus keeps us by

Your will, not ours. And it is fit

Our only choice should be to die

Into that rest, or out of it.


Wendell Berry: A Timbered Choir: The Sabbath Poems 1979-1997, 1979: II

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