For Five Thousand Years, Or More

Matthew Johnson

For five thousand years, or more,
more than fifteen thousand generations,
human beings have been invoking spiritual power.
My predecessors, and yours,
have gathered together
to make sense of their lives
and their place in the cosmos.

And they have spoken aloud,
and invited what they conceived as sacred and powerful to be with them.

They called upon the spirits of air and earth, fire and water.
They called the bear and dear.
They asked for the raven to protect them.
They pleaded for the heroes of old to slay the monsters of their fears.
They sang songs they learned from their grandparents, and moved in the appointed ways, or in ways that were new, but felt like the right thing to do.

And they imputed power to these spirits, and to the memories of those heroes.
They called them gods.
And they were invoked.  
Vishnu and Kali,
Elohim, Odin, and a hundred million others.
Every group of people,
they gathered to make sense of their lives and to make sense of their place in the cosmos, and they called these spirits to be present to them.

And so do we.
So do we—we gather this morning
to make sense of ourselves and this universe in which we live, as best we are able.
And we call ourselves to worship together, and we invoke the power and wonder of life itself, that to which all those spirits of animals, and memories of heroes pointed the way.

We invoke that power,
which is, we know, always around, always with us, but which we sometimes forget about.
We forget that we are part of the whole of creation.
We forget that we are stardust.
We forget that we are capable of miracles, first among them, that we can love.
We forget these things,
so we invoke the power of existence
so that we can remember.
So we can lift our eyes and open our ears to the true and beautiful.

For five thousand years, or more,
we have done this.
In many tongues, in many ways,
we have done this.
And so we continue that ancient tradition, in our way and in our time, and so let us now worship together.

An array of old photographs and vintage books