• Going Deeper: Growing in Faith and Knowledge

Charged with God’s Grandeur

The Rev. Rita Powell
March 7, 2019

If you have ever gotten an email from me, you have seen this quote in my signature, “Nor can foot feel, being shod.”  It’s from the famous poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins called God’s Grandeur.  It is one of the anchoring texts in my life.  The opening line is “The world is charged with the Grandeur of God.” In that one phrase, Hopkins captures both the way that the world is filled with God as with electricity—an unseen but real force of energy and a fullness that shimmers—and the way in which we, as that world, are accountable to God.  We are “charged with”—filled with and responsible for—all the grandeur. 


The poem goes on to reflect on all the ways in which we have obscured that noble calling.  Our world, our economy, our carelessness with the earth—all create a way of life that dulls the force of that electrical charge that is the divine life.  And so the poem brings us to the line in my email signature- “nor can foot feel, being shod.”  Our way of life swaths us in comforts and normal routines that blind us, dull us, diminish us.  We grow far apart even from our own bodies.  I wear shoes every day.  I am not connected to the earth or my own body the way I might be.  That line in my email is meant to remind me of this flaw daily. 


So this Lent, I’ve decided to take my daily office (a distilled version of it with a big chunk of silence) outside.  To behold, in prayer, the God who is in creation.  I have found a small corner of a ruined foundation in the meadow behind my neighborhood, and am determined to pray out there each morning in Lent.  I have to say, the massive snowfall and plummeting temperatures are not quite what I had been hoping for!  And I will be wearing boots, thank you very much.  But I will try to begin again this season, to recall the charge we are placed under as members of the grandeur of God.    


Perhaps in the comments below, you might share what you are doing for Lent and what inspired it?





The Rev. Rita T. Powell


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