I rejoiced when I heard them say...

A tender moment took place this afternoon during midday Eucharist that has given me pause for the rest of the day: while sharing lectio divina with our small group on Psalm 67, I noticed something moving in the center aisle of the Sanctuary. "Could it be Elijah?" I mused to myself with a sense of Passover, "or is it just another old age 'floaty" dancing in the periphery of my vision?" 

So I turned - from time to time guests wander in these days - and sure enough there was a tall, slender man with flowing white hair and a beard. "Excuse me," he said softly while taking off his cap in respect, "are you really opening the church in the middle of the day?" I smiled and our little group replied in one voice as if a they were a chorus, "Yes, indeed, would you like to join us?" He said, "I can't right now but would love to plan to come back next Wednesday. What a GREAT idea!" And with that, we shared a smile and he left.

After a reverent moment of silence, one of the women said, "I could only find parking out in front today, but when I saw the front doors of the Sanctuary open, it just felt so good to know the church was OPEN!." This took us away from the Psalm for a few minutes more - and has stayed with me for the rest of the day. Psalm 133 comes to mind: How good and pleasant it is when sisters and brothers dwell in unity. Maybe Psalm 122, too: I rejoiced when I heard them say let us go up to the house of the Lord.

There is something about this Sanctuary - could be all the wood, might be the marble Celtic cross, certainly has something to do with 252 years of worshipping spirits quietly coming and going within the walls, and the rainbow tapestry over the baptismal fount doesn't hurt - that evokes safety, welcome and rest for all types of people. The.open doors help a whole bunch, too, but there is genuinely a "spirit" of mercy in this place. It feels like a Sabbath rest when you step away from the busy main street into the soft, diffused light. One architect told me that this property has always been used for holy things - it has never been a place of commerce, farming or industry - always prayer. So after Eucharist, as I closed up shop for the day, I gave thanks to God. My gratitude took me right to this incredible tune by Rachmaninov that we are preparing for June:  "Rejoice, O Virgin Theotokos."


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