Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Ascension Day poetry in memory of the Great Maya Angelou

In honor of Ascension Day, and the spirit of humanity that can overcome oppression and injustice… let us bask in the spirit and the words of the late great poet.

‘Still I Rise’ by Maya Angelou

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,

You may trod me in the very dirt

But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?

Why are you beset with gloom?

‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells

Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,

With the certainty of tides,

Just like hopes springing high,

Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?

Bowed head and lowered eyes?

Shoulders falling down like teardrops.

Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you?

Don’t you take it awful hard

‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines

Diggin’ in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words,

You may cut me with your eyes,

You may kill me with your hatefulness,

But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?

Does it come as a surprise

That I dance like I’ve got diamonds

At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise

Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,

Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,

I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise

I rise
I rise.

A wonderful poem!   And she rose. May she rest in peace. 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Creeds: Do we need them?

Of all the parts of our Sunday Liturgy, the Nicene Creed causes many believers to pause.  How can I believe these ancient words? Do I take them literally? Each one? If I do not believe in one phrase, does that rule out the whole?
I highly commend that you listen to this podcast of Krista Tippet’s On Being program that can be heard on NPR stations Sunday mornings. She interviews the late Jaroslav Pelikan, professor of history at Yale University for four decades
The gem of this podcast is the sharing of the Maasai Creed from Kenya and Tanzania. Wouldn't this be great to use at Christ Church one Sunday morning?  

The Maasai Creed
We believe in the one High God, who out of love created the beautiful world and everything good in it. He created man and wanted man to be happy in the world. God loves the world and every nation and tribe on the earth. We have known this High God in the darkness, and now we know him in the light. God promised in the book of his word, the Bible, that he would save the world and all nations and tribes.
We believe that God made good his promise by sending his son, Jesus Christ, a man in the flesh, a Jew by tribe, born poor in a little village, who left his home and was always on safari doing good, curing people by the power of God, teaching about God and man, showing that the meaning of religion is love. He was rejected by his people, tortured and nailed hands and feet to a cross, and died. He was buried in the grave, but the hyenas did not touch him, and on the third day, he rose from that grave. He ascended to the skies. He is the Lord.
We believe that all our sins are forgiven through him. All who have faith in him must be sorry for their sins, be baptized in the Holy Spirit of God, live the rules of love, and share the bread together in love, to announce the good news to others until Jesus comes again. We are waiting for him. He is alive. He lives. This we believe. Amen.

The Maasai Creed is a creed composed in about 1960 by Western Christian missionaries for the Maasai, an indigenous African tribe of semi-nomadic people located primarily in Kenya and northern Tanzania. The creed attempts to express the essentials of the Christian faith within the Maasai culture.