Deep peace of the shining stars

On a wall of 20 Hills Cottage, that most hospitable of places, Hannah displays a prayer from Iona:

Deep Peace Iona blessing

The deep peace of the water, air, earth, and heavens are gathered up in the Son of Peace, the source from whom arises all peace anywhere peace is found.

The Iona prayer reminds me of a poem by Wendell Berry:

“The Peace of Wild Things” (text of poem)
Written and narrated by Wendell Berry

“And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. for a time…”

Whether waiting for another season,* or for the night to come, the stars are waiting with their light.

Deep peace of the shining stars to you
Deep peace of the Son of Peace to you.

[* As an aside, “day-blind” is an ambiguous phrase which, taken by itself, could mean stars invisible by day for either of two reasons: (1) they are in the daytime sky and outshone by the Sun; or (2) they are in the night sky and therefore not seen by day. We are informed by the poem that it takes place at night, so “day-blind stars” must then refer not to stars invisible because they are in the daytime sky (#1), but to stars that are visible at night (#2), waiting for us to appreciate their light, perhaps on those sleepless nights when anxieties weigh us down. If it were not so (if it were #1), I would prefer to read the two lines near the end without the period, as if the stars in the daylight sky were patient, waiting for a time — waiting until the season, which they know will come, albeit months from now, when they will move into the night-time sky and shine on the earth again. But in terms of #2, the waiting of the night-time stars is for us to stay up after sunset to finally notice them, and to be consoled in some measure by the light they provide in the darkness.]

The Iona prayer and Wendell Berry poem seem to relate naturally to a song by Alana Levandoski, inspired by the Christ hymn of Colossians 1:15-20:

“The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.” (Colossians 1:15–20 NIV11)

Alana asked four poets each to write a poem in response to a particular line:

  1. in him all things hold together…“: Malcolm Guite, “Everything holds together” (read by Malcolm, published in Parable and Paradox)
  2. He is the firstborn from the dead…“: Scott Cairns, “Recreation” (read by Jamie Howison)
  3. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him…“: Joel McKerrow, “And this is he who takes all that he is and bestows it freely” (read by Joel McKerrow)
  4. For in him all things were created… through him to reconcile to himself all things“: Luci Shaw, “Anticipating long stretches of nothingness we plunge south into California on I-5…” (read by ?) Cf. “Rocky Mountain Railroad, Epiphany,” discussed in Malcolm Guite, Waiting on the Word, for January 5.

Note: This post will be revised if I discover where/when these poems are published. I am guessing which lines Alana assigned to Joel and Luci.

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