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Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise:
The Beautiful Unordinary

By Lorna Goodison Essay

AS A CHILD growing up on the island of Jamaica, it seemed to me that people, especially women, were always singing hymns as they went about their business. Women bending low over washtubs, or standing knee deep in swift-running rivers, would produce scrub rhythms from the friction of soaped cloth rubbed hard between fists, and…

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Laudes Creaturarum:
A Polyphony

By Kimberly Johnson Essay

IN ASSISI, THE SKY vaults clouded and serene against the foothills. *   Pietro, known as Francesco, devoted brother of his order, put quill to thirteenth-century parchment and began to praise. His inspiration was Psalm 148, whose Hebrew exhortations spur the sun and moon, the stars and highest heavens, tempests and mountains and wingèd birds…

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Takbeerat al-Eid:
The Speakers of Tripoli

By Zeina Hashem Beck Essay

WHENEVER I THINK of takbeerat al-Eid, I remember the curtains of my childhood bedroom—how Mom surprised me one afternoon, saying she had bought me new pink (pink!) curtains. I loved their color and sheer fabric. I could see the glass balcony door behind them, and behind that, the green wooden shutters. When the shutters were…

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Be Thou My Vision:
Witness to the Revelation

By Scott Cairns Essay

I WAS RAISED IN A FAMILY for whom our Baptist church was very much an extension of our home. While that church was—as I might now parse such matters—a particularly cranky Baptist church, it offered nonetheless a loving community to those within it. More importantly, that community offered me a first taste of what I…

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Three Verses from Hallel:
Out of the Narrow Place

By Jacqueline Osherow Essay

From the narrow place, I called out to God; He answered me from the wideness of God. I OFFER THIS SOMEWHAT HOMELY, literal translation of Psalm 118, verse 5, because it seems to me—in its beautiful Hebrew, if not this clunky English version—to encapsulate what poetry is (or, at least, what it can be) more…

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