To the Tune of “The Lilies of the Covenant:” A Psalm 80 Haibun

To the Tune of “The Lilies of the Covenant:” A Haibun

by Jenn Cavanaugh

(Yesterday I posted about the haibun form. I wrote this one for our church’s Lenten Devotional to accompany Psalm 80.)

Restore us, O God

make your face shine on us

that we may be saved

– Psalm 80:3

Scripture often compares us to grass, to flowers, to trees. We are plants of the field, of the garden, of the wilds – rambling, bristling roses; burning, flowering bushes; a host of succulents storing water in the driest deserts; swaying oasis palms flagging hidden sources of water; tumbleweeds that mark the sand and frame the next generation of climbing plants. We sprawl through the wilderness toward a land of streams, a land cleared of everything that doesn’t yield fruit.

Consider the vine

without fangs or teeth or arms

it survives nations

The strength of a vine is its tenacity in springing back, in adapting to the place it is planted. The terms of its survival are unconditioned – a mark of the people of the God who preserves and glories in faithful remnants. The vine’s response to being trampled is to renew its grip on the good earth, anchor itself with the buried tendrils, and keep growing. When cut back mercilessly, the broken bits form new shoots. The vine’s long stems are designed to break new ground and cover it, not to stand on their own. One lonely strand epitomizes the frail, but as a whole it establishes itself in heaps, disregards artificial limits, surmounts impediments, drapes itself lightly over inhospitable terrain, and clambers toward the sun at every opportunity.

Photo by CameliaTWU/ Creative Commons











Rooted in motion

Runners commit to earth and sky

Morning glory


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