Notes from Rev. Amy Rowland’s exploration “Belonging To Each Other” during our November 16, 2014, Discussion and Potluck
A Contemporary Covenant ~Alice Blair Wesley
Though our knowledge is incomplete,
our truth partial and our love uneven,
From our own experience and from
the witness of our faith tradition
that new light is ever waiting to break
through individual hearts and minds
to illumine the ways of humankind,
that there is mutual strength
in willing cooperation,
and that the bonds of love keep open
the gates of freedom.
Therefore we pledge
To walk together in the ways
Of truth and affection
As best we know them now
Or may learn them in days to come
That we and our children may be fulfilled
And that we may speak to the world
With words and actions
Of peace and goodwill.
Kindness~Naomi Shihab Nye
Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things, feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.
Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the
Indian in a white poncho lies dead
by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone who journeyed through the night
how he too was someone who journeyed through the night with plans and the simple breath
that kept him alive.
Before you know kindness
as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow
as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.
Then it is only kindness
that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day
to mail letters and purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
it is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you every where
like a shadow or a friend.
Questions for Breakout Discussions
- When you are new to a group, what makes you feel most welcome?
- The practice of covenant can provide courage and encouragement in building relationships. What in our covenantal tradition might provide courage and encouragement to you as you navigate the varied relationships in your life?
- The poet Naomi Shahib Nye talks about kindness as the only thing that makes sense, once you know loss. How do you see kindness fitting in with covenantal theology. Does that change or inform the way you think or behave?