This week we are with the poetry of Todd Davis, a contemporary poet from the Allegheny Mountains of Pennsylvania.

Today’s Bible reading

Read Romans 6:1-14

Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. (verses 3-4)

More thoughts for meditation

Doctrine

I love the church
of the osprey, simple
adoration, no haggling
over the body, the blood,
whether water sprinkled
from talons or immersed
in the river saves us,
whether ascension
is metaphor or literal,
because, of course,
it’s both: wings crooked,
all the angels crying out,
rising up from nests
made of sticks
and sunlight. 

— from The Least of These by Todd Davis (2010)

Have you ever seen an osprey flap its v-shaped wings to hover for that moment before a dive? It is quite a sight! Emerging from the splash with a fish kill or without, the bird’s ascension is the both/and sight to which the poet pledges his faith. To Davis, this bird (and all the created order) are in conversation with the life of Jesus.  Ospreys adhere to and profess the pattern of everything — an everything that has plunged into the baptism of Christ and emerged soaked in grace. Arguing the finer points of why and how is meaningless if you can’t watch a bird and join it in the simple adoration of God. The revelation of the osprey reaches under or behind — to the thing behind the thing behind the thing. Davis’ vision does not demand that the first and second thing be rejected as not part of the whole, but he’s looking, and I hope he’s leading us, to remember that there is both/and — and more.

Suggestions for action

There is more to Jesus’ ascension than the disappearance of a human body in the clouds. Just as there is more to the rising of this bird from the water, of course. 

Consider a recent argument. Was it a disagreement in your cell? With a spouse? On Facebook? You might not have been mad. This isn’t about that. Take a moment to consider how there might be something else at play in what you think and what the other person thinks. Is there more? Is there a thing behind your things? And if you were mad, what was that about? Ask God to help you sort it through.

Today is John Chrysostom Day! Appreciate this “father of the Church” at Celebrating Our Transhistorical Body.