What if in the high, restful sanctuary
That keeps the memory of Paradise,
We're followed by the drone of history
And greed's poisonous fumes still burn our eyes?
Disharmony recalls us to our work.
From Heavenly work of light and wind and leaf
We must turn back into the peopled dark
Of our unraveling century ,the grief
Of waste, the agony of haste and noise.
It is a hard return from Sabbath rest
To lifework of the fields, yet we rejoice,
Returning, less condemned in being blessed
By vision of what human work can make:
A harmony between forest and field,
The world as it was given for love's sake,
The world by love and loving work revealed
As given to our children and our Maker.
In that healed harmony the world is used
But not destroyed, the Giver and the taker
Joined, the taker blessed, in the unabused
Gift that nurtures and protects. Then workday
And Sabbath live, together in one place.
Though mortal, incomplete, that harmony
Is our one possibility of peace.
When field and woods agree, they make a rhyme
That stirs in distant memory the whole
First Sabbath's song that no largess of time
Or hope or sorrow wholly can recall.
But harmony of earth is Heaven-made,
Heaven-making, is promise and is prayer,
A little song to keep us unafraid,
An earthly music magnified in air.
—Wendell Berry. A timbered choir: the Sabbath poems 1979-1997. New York, Counterpoint, 1992.
Work horses on Berry's farm.
Lord and heavenly Father, you have given to us the true bread that comes down from heaven, your son Jesus Christ. May we be so nourished by him that we may live in him and he and us, and your people be filled with the power of his unending life.
Arvo Pärt. Agnus Dei from the Berliner Mass (1990).
May God our Redeemer show us compassion and love. Amen.