Sunday, November 22, 2015


No, it wasn't the building.

It wasn't the flowers arranged and opening before the altar table. It wasn't the blue wall behind the Virgin's statue in a niche high up above the sanctuary. It wasn't the gesture, one hand raised with fingers gently curled, by which Christ, his mother and the saints communicate some message, some authority out of mosaic and stained glass and marble statue.

It wasn't the sound swelling out of organ pipes. It wasn't the procession, cross first, candles flanking, book of readings held aloft. It wasn't the words of the hymn, my voice joined by other voices from fellow singers I could not see, all of us bent over songbooks, eyes moving over the musical notations, dipping down into words separated into syllables, all of us guided by some familiarity gained by months and years of Sundays.

It probably wasn't even the celebrant, homilist, pastor, presider.

The injury, though, needed a building as tall as this, a ritual as old as this, a city congregation just this various and motley, or the injury threatened to pull me down, back into a pattern too old to recognize before it had started its weighing in, weighing down, almost blinding, nearly depleting.

I am at an age, though, and a stage of inner work to be able to rouse myself at the signs, the insinuating words of judgment, the ache of a deprivation so close to the bone that it sometimes passes for me.

Without all this building and ritual and congregation, where would I be? Without the host pressed into my hands each week by communion ministers whose faces I recognize, whose names I know, whose presence before me depends on nothing I ever do, where would I be?

I emerge, though, each Sunday face wet with tears. I am able to claim all this, own all this, move toward another week, await another Sunday.

1 comment:

Ur-spo said...

this was very tender; thank you for sharing it.