Oakland church



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Over the past few weeks, especially in my conversations with newcomers, the topic of prayer has come up.

So, the next few Sundays in worship we will be talking about prayer, as understood throughout all the world’s religions, and through psychology and science. What it is, how effective it is, how to pray, individually as well as collectively, with or without words, with music, with our bodies as well as our minds.

In these days of lingering summer even now, in October, I leave you with a poem about prayer, from one of my favorite poets, Mary Oliver.

THE SUMMER DAY, By Poet Mary Oliver

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

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