Live the Given Life

“ We live the given life, and not the planned” -- Wendell Berry, This Day: Collected & New Sabbath Poems 1979-2013

(Berkekey, CA: Counterpoint, 2013) 150

For many of the AMC community, Wendell Berry is one of the poets, essayists, theological and deep thinkers who feeds our hearts and spirits. I want to recommend a new book about Wendell for your summer leisure reading, now that July is here. The book is “Wendell Berry and the Given Life” by Ragan Sutterfield, published by Franciscan Media (www.FranciscanMedia.org). For those of us who are familiar with Wendell’s thought, this will be a refresher. For those who don’t know his thought and writings, it will be a good introduction.

These are the chapter titles:

  • One: Givenness
  • Two: Humility
  • Three: Love
  • Four: Economics
  • Five: Work
  • Six: Sabbath
  • Seven: Stability
  • Eight: Membership
  • Nine: The Body and the Earth
  • Ten: Language
  • Eleven: Peaceableness
  • Twelve: The Prophet

Does at least one of these pique your curiosity? I hope so. Would you be interested in gathering to reflect together on this book over the next few months? If you are, let me know and we’ll figure out when and where to get together.

July is upon us and many are vacationing or preparing for vacations in the weeks ahead. I’m looking forward to a week with Isaac at Ghost Ranch starting July 23. This is the season in the church year when committees, activities and lots of the stuff that fills our weeks slows down and thins out. Sabbath rest comes not just one day a week but finds other times. This is the time for letting go, the time for deep breathing, slow contemplation and lots of naps.

The life we are given now offers this time for rest. I invite us to bask in it. Yes, there is much work and many challenges on our AMC plate. The Spirit will not let any of them escape and they will be tended to. They will all be here when school starts, vacations are over and the seasons change once again. We will take up our tasks and the work given us, renewed, refreshed and blessed. For now let each day be enough.

Ed K.


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