POETRY OF THE SPIRIT SKSM Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Call to Worship

Come into this place

There are healing waters here

And hands with soothing balm

To ease your troubled days.

Bring your wounds and aching hearts

Your scars too numb to feel.

Your questions and complaints,

All are welcome here.

Rest awhile.

Let the warmth of this community

Surround you,

Hold you,

Heal you.

When you feel stronger,

Just a bit,

Notice those that need you too.

They are here.

They are everywhere.

Weep with them

Smile with them,

Work with them,

Laugh along the way.

Pass the cup,

Drink the holy fire.

Take it with you

Into the world.

We are saved

And we save each other

Again, again, and yet again.

Poem                          “Prayer “

Pray with me now,

If you will.

I think

We need

To pray.

Pray with me now,

Not out to some great intervener,

A handsome stranger,

Coming to the rescue.

You don’t have to barter your soul,

Your mind, your free and restless spirit.

Pray with me now.

We need to pray loudly sometimes

Giving voice with word or gesture.

To the urgent fires within our hearts.

Screaming out, “why this?”

“How long?”

Screaming out for help, for courage.

Outrage rumbles through our veins

And the pulse of our prayer is ragged.

Pray with me now,

If you will,

I think

We need

To pray.

We need to pray softly sometimes

Our silent bodies held still

A quiet hope rising to the wind

Blowing about the world in wonder.

Pray with me now.

Pray silently or out loud.

Our very prayers are an answer

The pulse of life, of hope

In our so very human hearts.

May our prayers be heard.

Message        POETRY OF THE SPIRIT                                      Rev. Theresa Novak

Some people are true poets. Poetry it is both an art and a craft and requires discipline to place words in such a way that the rhythm and meter enhance the images and their meanings. I am not a poet.   But poetry is a spiritual practice for me. Most of the images in my poems come to me in my dreams or just upon waking up. Most often it feels like I am coming up with the words, but just writing them down, pulling them from a river that is flowing through me. When the poems don’t come that way, I know that I am disconnected from spirit and have to find my way back home again. I, of course, have a poem about that.

Something seems wrong

When the words won’t flow

With the force of a waterfall

There is cause for fear

When old faithful fails

And there is no release.

The waters churn

The ocean rolls

The spirit tries

The spirit yearns

The earth it slowly turns

Until patience brings

The sunrise

An unexpected delight

Once again

We are again waiting for a decision from the Supreme Court on marriage equality. I spent seven years in Utah serving out fabulous church in Ogden. I left last June, partly because I was tired of living in a state where my marriage was always in question.

This is one I wrote in 2013.

It is called “Waiting for the Supreme (Court that is)”

They say

They will decide

This month

Once but not

For all

For some

Not everyone

Freedom pulses

In short spurts

Not equal

Breath held


Will it matter

For you

For me.

Justice cannot

Be made

By nine

Black robes

Unless it rolls

Down like water

Blessing us all

True vows

Like faith

Oh freedom

Will you

Come for me

I raged sometimes, and poetry helped me process that rage.

My rage it is building

It will not be contained

I must fight for my life

My love and my dream

Shall I burn

Down your temples

And set fire to your lies?

Shall I spit

In your faces

And call you to pay?

For your crimes

Against freedom

For the people who’ve died?

Ah, but

God is my witness

I can do none of those things

I will love

You instead

With pain and through tears

My fury will fuel

The new dawning day

Justice and mercy

Will rain down on us all.

And another one, called “Walk Proud”

You can creep about

With your head down

Shoulders bent

Weighted down by fear

You can avert your eyes

Maybe they won’t see you

If you can’t see them

Duck and cover might work

Still the blows come

While words rain down

Fag dyke fat bitch

Whatever they hate about you

You can run sometimes

You can even hide

Lock up your heart

Chain your free spirit down

But still their poison seeps

Into the air you need to breathe

Stand up

As tall as you can dare

Gather your friends around

Be yourself and

Look them in the eye

The blows may still come

But the truth will wash

The air around you clean

Whoever you are

You deserve this:

A real life

A chance to dream

There are others

Yearning to follow

Footsteps free from fear.

Walk proud.

Join the conga line.

I also write, specifically for worship. This one was for a servie on covenants of right relations.

Promises, promises

Which ones will we make?

Are they ones we will keep

Or ones we will break?

What does it matter?

Do we really care?

Will we look for the courage?

To take up the dare?

It is not always easy

To be kind or be good

We’ll fall on our faces

We won’t do as we should

But it’s still worth the effort

Although we will fail

Even when we blow it

We won’t end up in jail

A promise is a promise

It’s not a command

It is pledge for the future

So we know where to stand

I’ll remind you of yours

You’ll remind me of mine

Our promises together

Will bear fruit in good time

Another on a similar theme:

Will you walk with me

Across this great divide

The imagined distance

Between two souls

Worlds apart

Lives lived differently

Hopes perhaps the same

Will you stand with me

No matter what I say

Or think or do

Can I do the same for you

I will hold you

while you weep

Will you work with me

To dry the tears so quick to fall

Solitude is not an option

In this crowded crazy world

Walk with me.

And one on God:

If God could weep

For all the pain

That in this world abides

The tears would flow like rivers

The rain would never stop

Ocean waves like thunder

Would reach the mountain tops

If God could shout

A message out

For all the world to hear

The roar of words

Would echo round

This green and spinning sphere

If God could act

We’d surely have

Peace in all the lands

Food for all the hungry souls

And care for all the sick

If God is sleeping

I’d like to know

How to wake the Holy up

Most likely God is asking

That same question

Of every one of us.


How can we know God

If we won’t look into the mirror

Deep into our own eyes

How can we know faith

If we don’t trust ourselves to do

What we know is right

How can we know compassion

If we are not gentle and tender

To our own hurting souls

How can we know love

If we don’t remember

That our own feelings matter

Who bakes the bread

Who pours the wine

Our bodies and our blood

Are the sacraments of life

All creatures walk

The holy path

With twists and turns

With fear and doubt

Surprising joy

Around the bend.

This can be my life

This can be your life

Sacred journeys

Must begin somewhere

Why not here?

Why not now?

Why not you?

And for you who aspire to be ministers or other religious leaders:

Mantle of Ministry


What is this mantle?

This holy vestment

Of clerical fashion

Is it a superwoman cape

Or merely a disguise?

It can make me taller, thinner

It can amplify my voice

Bring courage to my path

It carries its own baggage

And sits by me at the station.

It cradles my shoulders

When I kneel trembling

In prayer or in despair

It offers comfort

When words do not suffice.

A heavy weight

It gives me wings

Lost, it leads me home

Buried in my bones

Lending the strength I need.

What is this cloth

Woven by the spirit swirling

Awesome and overwhelming

It is not worn lightly

And can’t be left behind.

Lessons learned in practice

Visions clarified

The call just keeps on coming

Echoes with the wind

There is ministry to do.


If you walk along the shore

Waves might tease your feet

Drawing you into the sea’s embrace

Ankle deep the sand shifts

Taking the space from beneath your toes

Keep moving to stay still.

If you go deeper

Waves will pound your thighs

And bring you to your knees.

Stagger to your feet

Sand has scraped your hips

And salt has burned your eyes

The hardest place to stand

is in the midst of breaking waves

Punishment for indecision.

Beyond the breakers

The ocean swells in ecstasy

Longing draws you there.

The gentle pulse of tides

Rocks you in the heart of time

Gather courage and ride them home.


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