Yesterday several of us gathered in the courtyard for noonday Eucharist, to draw strength and sustenance from our ancient ritual of gathering together in community to pray, to hear God’s Word and to share our Lord’s meal. We came with questions, uncertainty, anxiety, sadness. We came with a desire to be together, in our spiritual home. We came looking for hope and something solid to stand on. I imagine you may be feeling the same way …
A couple of years ago, a dear friend was struggling to make it through a season of darkness in her life; she confessed she felt she was drowning in a sea of uncertainty and couldn’t find a foothold on anything that felt like solid ground. But the more she talked and reflected on her life, the more she was able to identify specific things she was, indeed, certain of — islands of solid ground, that she could stand on, in the midst of a sea of uncertainty — like outcroppings of rock on which to stand, to make her way step by step, across a turbulent, fast flowing stream.
Perhaps this is a “practice” each of us can intentionally engage in, to navigate our way forward, if only for today. Find something — identify something — in your life, of which you are certain … and allow yourself to “linger” there, for awhile. One minute? 5 minutes? Let it be the rock on which you stand, if only for a moment. Perhaps it’s the feel of the warmth of the sun on your face. Or the feeling of your beloved’s hand, wrapped around yours. Or the steady drumbeat of your own heart, as it beats its sacred rhythm inside your ribcage. Or your breath, as the air enters and exits your body. Perhaps it’s a passage or psalm from holy scripture that anchors you, a favorite poem, a song. (Psalm 46 and Psalm 146 feel particularly appropriate for today!) A walk outdoors. A recipe to bake. A friend to call.
In his sermon for the Feast of All Saints last Sunday, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry lifted up the teachings of Jesus as something solid for all of us to stand on, this season and always. If you haven’t heard or watched his sermon already, I commend it to you https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=-idK1D8XHdY
Last Sunday as we gathered outdoors at 8am before the rain storm and then at 10am indoors (a last-minute adjustment!) during the rain storm, we renewed our promises to God, ourselves and one another as baptized Christians, as part of our baptismal covenant. Renewing these promises together is another island of solid ground, on which we can stand, together: https://episcopalchurch.org/baptismal-covenant
Whatever your “practice”, let it be a time of reenergizing your soul-spirit’s connection to the Source of All, the Holy Mystery that holds us and is the very Ground of Our Being … we are each a part of something Grand, Awesome and Majestic that is working in and through our present reality, and we each have our part to play.
A poem for you, that I came across last night; it spoke to me, may it speak to you as well.
By Audette Fulbright Fulson
H/t Peace Lee
Did you rise this morning,
broken and hung over
with weariness and pain
and rage tattered from waving too long in a brutal wind?
Get up, child.
Pull your bones upright
gather your skin and muscle into a patch of sun.
Draw breath deep into your lungs;
you will need it
for another day calls to you.
I know you ache.
I know you wish the work were done
with everyone you have ever loved
were on a distant shore
safe, and unafraid.
But remember this,
tired as you are:
you are not alone.
and here also
there are others weeping
and gathering their courage.
You belong to them
and they to you
we will break through
and bend the arc of justice
all the way down
into our lives.