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At-one-ment
Yom Kippur: At-one-ment
Homily

Poem

Try to Praise the Mutilated World ,
by Adam Zagajewski (translated from the Polish)

Try to praise the mutilated world.
Remember June's long days,
and wild strawberries, drops of wine, the dew.
The nettles that methodically overgrow
the abandoned homesteads of exiles.
You must praise the mutilated world.
You watched the stylish yachts and ships,
one of them had a long trip ahead of it,
while salty oblivion awaited others.
You've seen the refugees heading nowhere,
you've heard the executioners sing joyfully.
You should praise the mutilated world.
Remember the moments when we were together
in a white room and the curtain fluttered.
Return in thought to the concert where music flared.
You gathered acorns in the park in autumn and leaves eddied over the earth's scars.
Praise the mutilated world and the gray feathers a thrush lost,
and the gentle light that strays and vanishes
and returns.

****

We are so fragile. Every human being is fragile. Some less than others when considering their station in life materially or in some other seemingly big, life ways. But all can change for anyone in a moment... just around the corner on a day like any other day.

May we each grasp the awesome fragility of being human, and the heart's desire to open in compassion as a result of fully realizing this.

It is the time of Yom Kippur in the Jewish tradition. A time of atonement. It is no frivolous play on words to call it a time of at-one-ment. In this time of turning, in this season of changing colors, the religious response is to turn toward that which knows a oneness in life. Now is the time for a profound understanding of our common fragility. Every human being on the planet has this in common. Any safety felt in power or ideals or wealth or things or health....all temporary. No one is exempt and this can bind us in god's compassion.

We are all inherently worthy with great potential toward the good.

So very often we can rely on the goodness within people to carry the day. We rely so much on the good intentions of others in order to navigate our lives. So often people are good. So often they are more than good -- heroic. I cannot fathom such heroic goodness. But love makes it so.

So very often we can rely on the loving goodness of people.

It is the time of at-one-ment. In this time of turning, in this season of changing colors, as we turn toward oneness: now is the time to affirm that every human being has inherent worth and deep possibility for goodness.

We can all be severed from our own goodness, from god, from unity. Fear and war and poverty and misuse of power and profit not aligned with fairness and humility.

It is the time of at-one-ment. In this time of turning, in this time of the changing colors, as we yearn to understand what oneness means in this mutilated world, let us say, in great humility that we can all be severed from our own goodness, from god, from unity.

In my opinion, healing begins with humility. The groaning world asks for us to humbly see the whole world with the eyes of compassionate wisdom and daring creativity, and seek to walk a loving global path. It is not an easy path, but it humbly holds itself before us, because it knows how beautifully fragile humanity is and how precious and riven with saving goodness. Amazing.

In this time of turning, in the beauty of autumn, in this time of at-one-ment, may we apply the wisdom we have toward world unity. 

Something there is that wants more kindness. Something calls. Put your faith in it, no matter what you call it. Don't withdraw for long. You are needed for the healing. It is the purpose of our birth.

Praise the wild strawberries...the gray feathers a thrush lost...praise the tears in every fragile eye that speaks loss and pain...praise that look of glee on that face of the little one in the sparkly dress dancing without her legs...try to praise the mutilated world...and the gentle light that strays and vanishes and returns.

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