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I work as a teacher, poet and spiritual director at a number of institutions in the DC area. My teaching focuses in various ways on writing, poetry, Spirituality and Christian vocation and ministry - especially from the point of view of the laity. I also offer classes and retreats encouraging people to explore their inner lives, engage their creativity and reflect on their beliefs about God, vocation, and how we can discern and pursue new ways to transform our broken world. I enjoy speaking of faith in the secular academy as well as reminding those preparing for ministry in the Church that our primary purpose is to love and serve the world beyond the church's doors. I love helping people to grow in faith and to find their own voices, and I also love encouraging them to use their minds. I see no contradiction between these impulses, believing as I do that faith, reason and creativity work together.

Servants at Cana


On the third day there was a marriage at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there; Jesus also was invited to the marriage, with the disciples.  When the wine failed, the mother of Jesus said to him, "They have no wine."  And Jesus said to her, "O woman, what have you to do with me?  My hour has not yet come."  His mother said to the servants, "Do whatever he tells you." Now six stone jars were standing there, for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons.  Jesus said to them, "Fill the jars with water."  And they filled them up to the brim.  He said to them, "Now draw some out, and take it to the steward of the feast."  So they took it.  When the steward of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward of the feast called the bridegroom and said, "Every man serves the good wine first; but you have kept the good wine until now." This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory; and his disciples believed in him."
John 2: 1-11

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from  Kathleen Henderson Staudt, Annunciations: Poems out of Scripture (2003; reissued 2018: Wipf & Stock)

Servants at Cana

The servants know what happened.
We were the ones who saw the wine run out
We knew it would.
We were the ones with aching backs
Called on to draw water
When the problem was
We were out of wine.

You could feel the strain in the air
As guests found out
We were out of wine
Some of the important ones left.
We knew they would.
The host afraid of being thought stingy
The party threatening to break up.

No wonder the woman was so urgent
As she told her son
They have no wine.
Ordering us to do
Whatever he told us to.
No matter, as we hauled the water,
Following this silly command,
He, with his hands on the jars,
Began to smile at us
As if he were bringing a surprise
Just for us
As if we were not servants, but invited guests
At a party of our own.

And now, the wine steward discovers
The best wine, where only now
We were pouring water.
We knew what had happened,  tasted and saw
The bridegroom poured it out, the festivities began
With the few guests who had stayed and now
More of us servants than guests
The wonder-working man seemed to be our host
Inviting us all to drink and to dance
Servants and guests, all mingling together. 

There is something new about this wine
So strong and sweet, the best ever
For drawing a party together
It calls us, guests and servants,
Bridegroom and bride
To dancing.

Radiant singing invites our voices
And dancing is everywhere, weaving among us
A hand squeezes mine, and my body follows
And music is throbbing
Lilting with joy
Propelling us faster.

Abandoned to following, drawn into dancing
Weaving through figures with new-known friends
Hands reaching out pull in other dancers
Given to whirling
Given to dancing
Swirled to a center where all of us fit
Enfolded in laughter
Music surrounding
Joined at the wedding feast
Home
In the dance.



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