Prayer; powerful juju

The last rays of a setting sun hit the stained glass panel of the church; it left it a cavernous darkness.
Except for the candle glow around the alter.
Where flickering shadows from multiple wicks danced on the faces of parishioners who sat on the alter steps, or sat Indian-style on the wide spot in front of the alter.
The candles flickered across the cross that was laid out specifically for people to crowd.
“Welcome to the Taize prayer service,” Father Ed said. “I’m so glad so many of you took the time to come and be a part of this wonderful celebration of meditative prayer and song.”
I say hurrah for my Catholic parish to try something new and different.
Sure, I’ve got problems with the Catholic church; women should be allowed to be priests and the overall rigidity of the Church to try anything new and different to attract younger members bothers me.
But there was Father Ed, hosting 50 people in a Taize service (it was a start; Father Ed said he plans to host them once a month from now on).
Taize was never meant to be the movement it is today; Brother Roger (who died in 2005), began his ecumenical community in 1940 in Taize, within the Burgundy region of France simply for a life of prayer and community for men of all branches of Christianity.
It’s become a hit. Especially with the kids.
Many thousands of young people travel to Taize to participate in the daily prayer mediations. There is music. There are chants. There is meditative, quiet prayer.
Pretty powerful stuff.
And there I was Wednesday night, listening to members of the school choir sing - stretched out on the red carpet of the alter, quietly praying. It was wonderful.
It was powerful.
It was peaceful.
From the Taize Web site:

“By meeting other young people from throughout the world in a climate of openness and listening, participants discover that roads to unity can be opened up amidst the diversity of cultures and Christian traditions. This provides a solid basis to be creators of trust and peace in a world wounded by divisions, violence and isolation.”

Makes sense to me.
After the concluding prayer, Father Ed suggested that people touch the cross and reflect in quiet meditation; we were free to leave at our own pace.
I touched the cross and a swell of emotion came to me; tears welled up in my eyes that I had been open to attend – but also open to unlock the aquifer of spiritually within my soul.

Of course, after the service, I went to the pub for a beer.
But lest you think of me as a heathen, I went to be among friends. And one friend in particular, who has been fairly absent around town.
His mother died three months ago, and you can still see the jagged hole where his heart was; you recognize the look in his eyes in your eyes, the look of loss that fades, but never completely goes away.
(Death, especially your parents, is a fraternity that only those who have gone through it completely understand.)
We talked. He talked. I invited him on our annual beefalo backpacking trip, where he enthusiastically accepted. We walked out together and he thanked me for just being there.
And I knew that I was right where I needed to be.
Divine intervention?
I don’t know. This spirituality thing is new and different for me.
I’m just open to the possibilities.


RachelRenae said...

I often feel the spirit of God more acutely on the streets of downtown Denver than I do in my church. I hear Him speak when I'm looking into the eyes of a homeless woman louder than I do during my pastor's weekly sermon.

This is what Christians ought to look like- not leaving God in the church or cathedral but seeing Him in their everyday lives. It's one thing to talk about kindness. It's a very different thing to exercise it, especially at your own expense.

I'm excited about your renewed spirituality!!

ThomG said...

Me, too (that renewed spiritual thing). Father Ed spoke of that last night; that mass can be said anywhere - and that God lives both in the beautifuls things, but also in the suffering of man. Be open to it all. And I am.

Anonymous said...

Being open to it seems to be my way. Since I've been more open spiritually again, I've seen so much more than people will tell me is going on with them. I might ask how someone is, and the "Fine...well, okay" is much clearer in what it's not saying than it used to be. I find myself being more calm and accepting, too. Remember the feeling of peace that you left the church with and hold onto it.