Looking for God’s Goodness in contemplation and prayer.
Barbara Holmes begins her book Joy Unspeakable with this evocative poem, tracing the thread of creative expression from the birth of the universe through the Christian Desert Mothers and Fathers (who were dark-skinned, though they’re often portrayed as white), through slavery and the continued oppression of people of color. I invite you to read the poem aloud, perhaps a couple times, searching for and finding your own unspeakable joy.
is not silent,
it moans, hums, and bends
to the rhythm of a dancing universe.
It is a fractal of transcendent hope,
a hologram of God’s heart,
a black hole of unknowing.
For our free African ancestors,
joy unspeakable is drum talk
that invites the spirits
to dance with us,
and tell tall tales by the fire.
For the desert Mothers and Fathers,
joy unspeakable is respite
from the maddening crowds,
And freedom from
“church” as usual.
For enslaved Africans during the
joy unspeakable is the surprise
of living one more day,
and the freeing embrace of death
chosen and imposed.
For Africans in bondage
in the Americas,
joy unspeakable is that moment of
when God tiptoes into the hush arbor,
testifies about Divine suffering,
and whispers in our ears,
I taught you how to fly
on a wing and a prayer,
when you’re ready
Joy Unspeakable is humming
“how I got over”
after swimming safely
to the other shore of a swollen Ohio river
when you know that you can’t swim.
It is the blessed assurance
that Canada is far,
but not that far.
For Africana members of the
“invisible institution,” the
emerging black church,
joy unspeakable is
while chains still chafe,
while Jim Crow stalks,
trusting God’s healing
and home remedies,
and cow patty tea.
For the tap dancing, boogie woogie,
who also hear God,
joy unspeakable is
that space/time/joy continuum thing
that dares us to play and pray
in the interstices of life,
it is the belief that the phrase
“the art of living”
means exactly what it says.
Joy: Weekly Reflection Summary
Sunday – Dead or Alive. Have you ever thought about if you are living dead or alive?
Monday – All I Need. How often do I look at the changing world around me, allowing it to create dis-ease in my mind or stir up fear in my heart?
Tuesday – Awesomeness. How awesome God is it that Your reign and glory trump everything here in this crazy chaotic world.
Wednesday – Safe and secure. “My soul shall be filled as with a banquet; with joyful lips, my mouth shall praise you. For you have been my strength, in the shadow of your wings I rejoice. My soul clings fast to you; your right hand upholds me”. Psalm 63 Antiphonal
Thursday – Solid Foundation. How do I live in the solid foundation of joy?
Friday – Presence. And a voice came from heaven said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.” Matthew 3:17