Monday, February 06, 2023

Dean Powery on Looking Out for 'Sacred Surprises'

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"If we pay attention, we can experience sacred surprises," Chapel Dean Luke A. Powery writes in his (Duke) Chronicle column this week.

In the column "Sacred surprises," Dean Powery looks back at the biblical example of John the Baptist as an unlikely prophet and then offers two examples from his own life of people who have surprised him with prophetic utterances.

There was a man who had been shunned by so many people he introduced himself as having the name "get out of here." Dean Powery says about him: "He was uttering a prophetic word critiquing how our society can demonize difference and label some people as outsiders to the point of giving a fellow human being the name 'get out of here.'” 

Then, there was Dean Powery's young neice Christiana who was dying from a rare autoimmune disease. "Her last two words in [her] journal are the beginning of a prayer—'also touch,'” Dean Powery writes. "It’s an open-ended prayer for the world, for you and me. Two small words from an unlikely person in an unlikely place—a sacred surprise."

"May your week be full of surprises that are full of the sacred," he says.

Read the column.

The photo above is a light-painting image created by artist Johnny Dickerson as part of an outreach program on Duke campus organized by Duke's Fitzpatrick Institute for Photonics. Learn more about it.