We depart soon for Québec - first a few days in the Eastern Townships and then Montréal - for ten days of rest and reflection and I am ready for the change. Still, as I was sitting in the silence of today's midday Eucharist, it hit me: one of the reasons I cherish this gathering so much is that there are no expectations. None. Nada. Zero. There is no need for rigorous preparation - we do lectio divina - so all anyone need do is show up. There is no expectation whether or not you will be in attendance either; sometimes it is just one person besides me (so we talk together for about 30 minutes before sharing prayer and Eucharist) while there are other times when 5-9 semi-regulars find themselves seated in the Chancel. And every now and then a guest wanders in for a spell, too. No pressure. No demands. No entertainment or excessive liturgical preening. Just ordinary people opening their hearts to God in chant, prayer, silence and table fellowship.
All I have to do is: 1) show up, 2) put on my white alb, 3) light a few candles, 4) set out the Psalters and printed liturgies, 5) turn on the lights, and 6) lead the folk in an order of worship from Iona I adore. Often I have studied the scriptures we used because I have written my Sunday message on Tuesday, but not always. And mostly it doesn't matter because in holy reading - lectio - we simply speak the words that are moving our hearts at that moment with a bit of humility. It is all very Zen and in the moment. The chants we share are a capella. The printed words are simple and direct. And there is ample silence in our cavernous Sanctuary where, on a summer day with the windows open, you can hear the city doing business as we pause for quiet reflection.
This gathering keeps me grounded. It keeps me sane, too. And the reason is clear: I can just love the Lord and whomever else shows up by just being present and real. How did Ram Dass put it? Be here NOW?! Well, that's what we do - and I will miss being with my midday peeps for the next few weeks. For those who are reading, know I love you and will see you soon because September is just around the corner.
Peace out for a few weeks,
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