I know not why... #338

I know not why... #338

A Menno Minute

The Blue Hymnal is precious to me.

I am excited by the purple Voices Together, but it will be an adjunct to, not a replacement of, the blue hymnal currently on my piano.

My favourite song in the blue hymnal is 338, I know not why God’s wondrous grace. I love the melody, the momentum that builds in the refrain, the key (E flat), and the song’s timelessness.  Most of all I love it for the first three words that begin every stanza: I know not.

So much about my own journey with faith, theology, divinity, prayer, doctrine…the works…can be summed up in those three words. I know not far more than I know. Which is why I am so grateful for my Mennonite community. In it I find acceptance and room for the mystery of being on a journey. God is love.  God is present. God’s light leads the way. I don’t know much more than that.

During these strange pandemic times, without benefit of regular church fellowship or traditional church services, I give thanks for the many times God has used friends, family, events, music and books to speak into my life:

Best new song on my playlist (I barely know what a playlist is):  A Prayer Like any Other by Kieran Kane. (“Lord, keep your eye on my friends.”)

Playing for a friend’s funeral (I on piano, my husband Al playing cello), only to learn when we got home that in some mysterious way, we were also playing for Al’s 92-year-old dad who had passed away that same hour.

The flowers, the curried lentil soup, the cards and calls that arrived when friends heard Al’s dad had died, and knew we could not gather with his family in Colorado.

Calling up my 95-year-old friend Anne for a phone chat, and hearing her say, “I had a hunch you were going to call today.”

Kind and unexpected words of care from Trinity Mennonite friends after the Boulder, Colorado grocery store shootings, knowing that Al lived and worked in Boulder for many years. 

Hiking every Tuesday west of Turner Valley, saying “Wow” at the top of every ridge, and thinking, “Yep, a good friend of mine made all this.”

The Endurance by Alfred Lansing, about Shackleton’s ill-fated 1915 Antarctic expedition. It is an epic adventure book, with God’s grace present on every ice floe, every journal entry, every heroic pull on the oars, every extra ration of a sugar cube.

Talking curling, books, politics, hockey, religion and cribbage strategies with my friend Jeanette, who just had her 99th birthday under lockdown at the seniors’ residence where she lives.

This line from a poem about spring, written by a friend in my poetry circle who just suffered a stroke: Oh, to dig in the dirt again.

These lines from Mary Oliver’s poem, The Summer Day:   

I don't know exactly what a prayer is.

I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down

into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,

.. and be blessed…

Tell me, what is it you plan to do

with your one wild and precious life?

Is God really in any of the above, or are these just bright spots in an otherwise crummy year? 

I know not. It is a mystery. 

But I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I’ve committed unto him against that day.  Please take your blue hymnal and turn with me to #338.