Being liturgically more conservative than even I would admit, I was quite perplexed when the First Reading at the early Sunday morning worship at the church where I went for the first time, was a poem by Pablo Neruda, rather than the customary Old Testament (Hebrew Bible) text in the Lectionary. And so I listened intently hoping to discover the wisdom for such departure from tradition and the sacredness of the poem. I am happy I found both and the whole experience was quite inspiring.
The poem’s title is: You Start Dying Slowly.
Here are some of the verses that got me into meditation. (You Start Dying Slowly)
“If you do not appreciate yourself…
If you become a slave of your habits, walking everyday on the same paths…
If you do not change your routine…
Or you do not speak to those you don’t know.
If you do not risk what is safe for the uncertain,
If you do not go after a dream,
If you do not allow yourself,
At least once in your lifetime,
To turn away from sensible advice”.
You probably know the traditional response after the Readings: “…Thanks be to God”.
Does this speak to you as it did to me? Actually I felt liberated not only from the bondage of tradition but also a mindset about divinity and sacredness.