Thursday, May 28, 2020

Some Keep the Sabbath

Many thanks to my friend Anne who reminded me of this Emily Dickinson poem. It seems so appropriate for these Covid-19 times when many congregations choose to keep each other safe and so are reluctant to gather in person to worship.

Some keep the Sabbath going to Church –
I keep it, staying at Home –
With a Bobolink for a Chorister –
And an Orchard, for a Dome –

Some keep the Sabbath in Surplice –
I, just wear my Wings –
And instead of tolling the Bell, for Church,
Our little Sexton – sings.

God preaches, a noted Clergyman –
And the sermon is never long,
So instead of getting to Heaven, at last –
I’m going, all along.
                      ~  Emily Dickinson

Our congregation has been worshiping at least nine weeks with the aid of lovely pre-recorded YouTube videos. So we are truly "staying at Home." Our pastor and one musician work diligently to prepare the service, and it is so much more time intensive than preparing a traditional service. With no concrete plans to return to in-sanctuary community worship this summer, perhaps we need to consider an outdoor gathering where we can more fully pay attention to warblers and leafy trees.

Poetry Friday is over at A Year of Reading. Thanks to Mary Lee, and have fun discovering the poem offerings this week.


  1. Those last lines: 'So instead of getting to Heaven, at last –
    I’m going, all along.' Heaven on earth! Thanks for sharing such an apt poem for the times.

  2. I agree with Sally, those last lines...such a gentle turn at the end of this poem. I am comforted with a visit here with Emily. Thank you.

  3. What a great reminder from Emily. I think we worship more frequently when we are present in our gardens, on our walks, with our loved ones. And yes...those last lines. Perfection.

  4. I've always loved this line from Emily's poem: "Our little Sexton – sings." & today love your bobolink song, Joyce. It is a wonderful thing that you have the ability to watch your pastor & the service at home.

  5. Thanks for the Dickinson poem -- so lovely and perfect for these times.

  6. I echo the other's comments about Emily's final lines resonant tone. Heaven indeed... :)

  7. I've had trouble posting for some reason, but I'll try again. I love this Dickinson poem. Thank you for posting it. Church can be anywhere and it is certainly where the bobolink is.


Comments welcome.