The Irish poet Micheal O'Siadhail spoke at Trinity Church a few Sundays ago and the whole experience was remarkable (sublime, actually). Micheal is one of Europe's most celebrated poets and it was a coup to get him to come to our church to read selections from his new book, Globe. He read two poems at our morning service and people were transfixed. Later in the service I put Micheal on the spot and asked him to give the benediction. He took a moment during the last song to compose it. At the dismissal he came to the microphone and said this blessing over us,
"Bless us all, in our work for the world, for one another, for the outsider, for the sufferer, the lonely, the bereaved, so that the God of Abraham, the giver of jazz, of improvisation, of surprise might shape our lives."
His words rang with such authority that we didn't quite know what to do when he finished! You could have heard a pin drop.
Later that night more than 100 Trinity people and their friends jammed
into the Arcadia Coffeehouse to listen to Micheal read for more than an
hour. Many of us wept as he read poems about his wife of 35 years as
well as about the Holocaust.
It's been a lifelong dream to be part of a church that sponsors and values this kind of event. Micheal emailed me several times later in the week to say that he would cherish the memory of his time with us for many years to come. We're commissioning Rob Mathes and to compose and perform an orchestral work based on a cycle of Micheal's poem. Rob is traveling to Dublin in July to begin the work.