Parables the Size of a Mustard Seed

We visited Angelus Silesius last Sunday, whose humor and brevity makes his poetry stand out. Not all of them require much conversation to tease apart their meaning. We should all save this one for Advent 2014:


If in your heart you make a manger for his birth,

Then God will once again become a child on earth.

Simple. Profound. A sermon in itself!

I hope you are finding some gems in our Winter/Spring study. This week, two-thirds of the way through The Enlightened Heart Japanese poet Basho has a couple of my very brief, very favorites (don’t tell the Confirmands, these will be too easy to memorize!). The first is inscrutable upon initial reading. But I have been mulling it for a decade now and love it – will also love to hear your reflection upon it at some point:

Old pond,

frog jumps in –


That’s it. Can you see it in your mind’s eye? Hear it? All that is left is to wonder what Basho would have us sense/think/feel. How about you?

Then this Basho masterpiece of economy and melancholy:

Though I’m in Kyoto

when the cuckoo sings

I long for Kyoto

I can’t see adding or subtracting a single syllable from either of these without compromising them. I’m going to miss this Sunday while you are hearing from Reverend Amy Mendez about Matthew 25 but I will be asking April 6 about this Congregational Assignment While Teacher is Away:

Paraphrase Basho’s “Though I’m in Kyoto…” Read it again (3 seconds). Recognize the heart of Basho. Now think of a version in your own words. You will want to make it personal and applicable to where you are. Your willingness to take a chance here will make Offerings on the 6th a new sort of beauty to behold!

Looking forward to seeing you in worship –

Pastor Don