Last year I wrote a devotional based on this poem by Lucille Clifton:
the river between us
in the river that your father fished
my father was baptized. it was
their hunger that defined them,
one, a man who knew he could
feed himself if it all came down,
the other a man who knew he needed help.
this is more than color. it is
about how we learn to see ourselves.
it is about geography and memory.
it is about being poor people
in america. it is about my father
and yours and you and me and
the river that is between us.
The first time around, I took this poem literally, because my father was a fisherman, not by profession but by avocation. He even tied his own flies. But Clifton is concerned with the haves and the have-nots, both materialistically and spiritually.
It’s about having money in the bank or perhaps being homeless sleeping on a riverbank.
Dear God, Help us to see the rivers that divide us. Help us to clear away the brush and forge a way to the other side. Maybe wading, maybe constructing a bridge of stepping stones or maybe something as monumental as the Brooklyn Bridge to reach across the chasms that separate us. Amen