Start Close In

Living Table is a part of New Branches

Outdoor New Branches sign "A home for faith and community" - Depicting Spirit Catholic Community, Lake Nokomis Lutheran, and Living Table UCC; image licensed for Living Table's use

Jesus was quite savvy about human nature.

No comments yet

Dear Friends, Sunday, July 17, is the second Sunday in our series entitled, Ground Rules, in which we are wrestling with four of the many challenging teachings of Jesus. Jesus was quite savvy about human nature. He knew that we humans often see ourselves less clearly than we think we see others, that we are often quick to criticize and correct others before we’ve honestly examined ourselves. Remember what I said on Sunday, “Navigating these Ground Rules requires an inside job!

Therefore, this week we have yet another opportunity to practice seeing ourselves more clearly and compassionately, so that we might be more able to see others with the same kind of compassion – to judge not, that we be not judged. Such a practice requires that we turn first to curiosity and wonder before we launch into criticism; that we cultivate strategies like the Buddhist practice of seeing all things with a beginners mind. What if we were to make those practices our default approach to ourselves and others?

Perhaps these few verses of David Whyte’s poem will resonate with you as you take the first step . . .

start close in

start close in,
don’t take the second step
or the third,
start with the first
thing
close in,
the step
you don’t want to take.

Start with
the ground
you know,
the pale ground
beneath your feet,
your own
way of starting
the conversation.

Start with your own
question,
give up on other
people’s questions,
don’t let them
smother something
simple.

To find
another’s voice,
follow
your own voice,

wait until
that voice
becomes a
private ear
listening
to another.

Start right now
take a small step
you can call your own
don’t follow
someone else’s
heroics, be humble
and focused,
start close in,
don’t mistake
that other
for your own.

Start close in,
don’t take
the second step
or the third,
start with the first
thing
close in,
the step
you don’t want to take.

~David Whyte, River Flow: New and Selected Poems

About Elaine Kirkland

Rev. Elaine Kirkland was the sabbatical pastor for Living Table UCC during Summer 2022.

To share this Pastoral Notes

post from Elaine

Use the Share Buttons below!

Leave a Comment