Monday, May 21, 2012

Small blessings

On my last day serving at St. Andrew's, I got a blessing.

Not just any blessing.  This was a special one offered by the smallest of the congregation - the children with whom I have shared story time over the last year.  Kneeling in the center aisle amidst the people, I closed my eyes as Mother Jenny offered a prayer.  Each child found a space on my alb, head, shoulders and arms to lay their hands on me for their part in this blessing.  As the prayer began, one small child reached under the arm of another to slip her fingers into my open fingers, closing her hand onto mine. 

I took a deep breath, squeezing my eyes closed, holding back tears of joy.  What a sacred moment! 

How much does God reach out and touch us, through the hands of others, especially the little ones?
How graciously the Holy Spirit moves in surprising places?

So much! So graciously!  Thanks be to God.

Happy are the people to whom such blessings fall; happy are the people whose God is the Lord
- Psalm 144:15

Monday, May 7, 2012


They say, when you chant or sing hymns, you pray twice.
Could that be why is it so much fun? 

Last week, while leading the seminary's chanted Evening Prayer, "Evensong,"  I found myself belting out the "O Gracious Light" and getting in the groove. 

I felt invigorated by the rhythmic breathing required to chant according to these so-called "simplified" tones.  They aren't really simple - in fact, they require quite a bit of attention.  So, while chanting, I squint to read the tiny notes in sharp and flat, I sense encouragement from master-chanter-David L., and I am buoyed by corrective adjustments from soprano-guide-Cameron S.

I notice my breath, I notice the tones, I smell the scent of incense, I notice the cloud floating up to the ceiling, I see the icon on the altar, I feel the presence of fellow pray-ers.

This is not about me - it's about us all, gathered, attempting to sing together and carry the tunes.  It's about worshiping God whose tones know all the harmonies and hold them together.

What songs are you breathing today?

Psalm 141.2:  Let my prayer be counted as incense before you, and the lifting up of my hands as an evening sacrifice.