POETRY: The Oil Lamp, by Pascual Juan Sebastián

October 14, 2015

Pascual Juan Sebastián is a Chuj Maya poet. He wrote this at La Gloria refugee camp. It is ten o’clock at night Saturday, May 14, 1988. Barely, an oil lamp, blackened by its long use, gives me its light, and it is similar to my age and the pains that consume my weakened body, tied to the history of refuge in Mexico. Arrow without rest wind without destiny. My desk? Just an old flat-bottomed wooden washtub cracked at the bottom like the history of my country, split in two, split in two, where the voice is only a voice which nobody hears, and the ear deaf to voices, hearing as weak as the same oil lamp that hardly gives me its light. The palace where we live? everybody fits in it, and makes us laugh. Its size, four square meters and [...]

PEACE: Living Toward A Vision, by Walter Brueggemann

July 6, 2014

From Peace I will give you your rains in their season, and the land shall yield its produce, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. Your threshing shall overtake the vintage, and the vintage shall overtake the sowing; you shall eat your bread to the full, and live securely in your land. And I will grant peace in the land, and you shall lie down, and no one shall make you afraid; I will remove dangerous animals from the land, and no sword shall go through your land. (Leviticus 26:4-6) For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us. (Ephesians 2:14) The central vision of world history in the Bible is that all of creation is one, every [...]

SATURDAY READING: Psalm 42 — The Torn Soul, by Edward Feld

October 19, 2013

From Joy, Despair, and Hope: Reading Psalms Psalm 27 is a poem of increasing disintegration: its penultimate thought expresses the felt absence of God even as its ending articulates a faithful expectation and hope.  This swing of emotions is imitated in Psalm 42.  Like many other psalms, it does not trace a movement in a single direction but rather gives voice to a balancing of emotions; self-doubt and turmoil and expressed alongside faithful declarations, and this turmoil becomes the explicit subject of the psalm.  We are party to an inner dialogue in which the poet constantly moves back and forth, enunciating a yearning for God on one hand, and despair as to his condition on the other.  Readers understand that we are confronting the [...]