Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Maya Angelou: "Church"

Maya Angelou, 1928-2014

It's Sacred; Church
Everything in God's world is sacred.  Trees and
toads and little girl's eyes. Grandfather's hands
and the murmuring voices of lovers.  Sacred.

A poet's dream, almanac compilers and rocks that
look up at the moon.  Sacred.  Everything can be
church and anything can be church.

Church was the first place where I came
child to spirit to Christ.  "Suffer little children
to come unto me, for such is the Kingdom of
Heaven."


Literally, church introduced me to my very first
friend.  Louise and I both thought the preacher
talked too long, Mrs. Sneed sang too loudly and
Brother Williams got too wild when he prayed.
We both giggled at the same time and cried just
as piteously when we were chastised.

Every time I feel the spirit, I know I am
immersed in the essence of church.  That know-
ledge changes my voice.  I speak more softly and
choose my words more carefully.  There are more
"yes, ma'ams" and "no ma'ams" and "yes, sirs" and
"no sirs" in my conversation.

Out of my heart, out of my brain, more "thank
yous" slide across my tongue.  I am blessed.
I am in church.

Church is not the luggage I bear, nor the cloak I
wear.  It is neither the hat I sport, nor the shoes,
which carry me around my world.  It is not my
destination, nor my place of departure.

I cannot define the breadth and depth and width
and height of church, but church can define me
always.  It slides the skin over my muscles and
allows my lungs to inspirate and fill so that
"Hallelujahs" like rain come from my mouth,
"Hallelujahs" fall like rain from my lips.

Church is where I go when I want a certain ful-
fillment, and church is where I don't have to go
because it is always with me,
holding me up,
propelling me forward,
sustaining me.

When I think about church and remember that
church and I are one, I am reminded that  every-
thing in God's world is sacred.

2003, Dr. Maya Angelou