Devotions from Tri-City ELCA Churches – Tori Valcarcel, Nov 17, 2021

Devotion for Nov. 17, 2021 from Tori Valcarcel, Ministry in Context Student for HTLC and CTK:


Today I’m flying low and I’m
not saying a word
I’m letting all the voodoos of ambition sleep.

The world goes on as it must,
the bees in the garden rumbling a little,
the fish leaping, the gnats getting eaten.
And so forth.

But I’m taking the day off.
Quiet as a feather.
I hardly move though really I’m traveling
a terrific distance

Stillness. One of the doors
into the temple.

Mary Oliver’s poetry speaks to me in a way that feels fundamental, like a core part of my humanity finds a home in her words. The imagery of Creation, flora and fauna in their rhythms, the lyrical simplicity, all of it invites me to moments of pausing and reflection.

This poem, Today, felt appropriate to share as a devotional, in part because of this love I have for Oliver’s work, and in part because this time of the year feels like a time for stillness, for pausing. In gaining our extra hour of sleep for Daylight Savings we’ve entered into the time of 5 pm sunsets. The world continues in its frenzied chaos, school and work and relationships all clamor for our attention and energy. Thanksgiving is on the horizon, and the church year careens inevitably towards Christmas.

The bees rumble and the fish leap.

But what of our souls? What of our sometimes tired and weary spirits? What of the time before Christmas, the time of “not-yet” and anticipation? Do you find space to fly low, to escape from the push-pull currents and take the day (or hour or minute) off?

When you fly low, where do you go?

Today, and everyday, Yours in Christ,


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