Celebrating the Incarnation: A Preaching in Poetic Free-Verse


While gentle silence enveloped all things . . .
your all-powerful Word leapt from heaven,
from the royal throne.

Tonight
amid the fertile and forgotten edges of the story
in a cave, hidden
not in the hills but in the heart
we shall make room
for Love
 and savour the expanse

Putting aside all peregrinations
of mind and memory
we are, indeed, profoundly earthed pilgrims
who walk to a different rhythm
the pulse of mercy
serene labyrinthine-like cadence
surrounding us
with the courage that opens itself
to Light

Yes, tonight
enfolded in dazzling pre-dawn darkness
we shall stand
and feel the possibility anew
in the radical rupture of her “yes”

Now I am revealing new things to you
Things hidden and unknown to you
Created just now, this very moment.
Of these things you have heard nothing until now.
So that you cannot say, Oh yes, I knew this.

Listen!
Do you hear what I hear?
The one and only Eternal Word
startling
all sound into a slower stillness?
In Your Name
the colours of mystery
dance
a radiant procession
flashing forth Your holy longing
in us, through us, with us

Here comes from afar
the Name of the Lord
now, so near
an unstoppable flow
of grace upon grace
receiving, releasing, resting
only grant us to sing the emptiness You embraced

Beyond untrammeled margins
of river, raven, and valley
reside secret contours in eternal annunciation
womb touching womb
Elizabeth and Mary showing us
a timeless way of tradere
tenderness, compassion, and discretion
a tranquil vulnerability
that seeks to shelter all that is small

Within
this sacred space
between joyous leap and gentle blessing
do we not feel
in the playful resonance
an endless impress
the effects of our redemption?
Now I am revealing new things to you
Things hidden and unknown to you
Created just now, this very moment.

Yes, in this
kingdom-bliss
unseen
we reverb His fullness
ours is a lyrical lingering within the universe
like a reed that is blown
in soft accompaniment
to the metaphysical melodies of the troubadour
in hearing, violence is hushed
a quiet cradle song awakening us
in Your princely peace

O, come
be our Warmth, our Shelter
in this refugee night
breathe within us, a welcoming Fire
a magnificent stretch
holding taut
the untouched space
between silence and stillness
shining into the searing synthesis
of all hunger and ache
primordial and personal
 rocking each exiled phrase of expectation
into a new song
unending

Dear, dear dreamers
arise
shake the stars from your eyes
and tonight dwell with the nuance
for the narrative continues with the dawn
disrupting us, displacing us
as we take flight into a fresh land
of good news
in the grieved immediacy
of the present moment
where all is re-created
at once, in an instant
in a Word . . .

And the Word was made flesh;
he had his tent pitched among us,
and we have seen his Glory,
the Glory of the only Son
coming from the Father:
fullness of truth and loving-kindness
From his fullness we have all received
favour upon favour.


A sermon given by Sister Elizabeth
on the occasion of the Solemn Joyous Chapter of Christmas Eve, 2015
Queen of Peace Monastery 
British Columbia, Canada