As I began the day a tentative mood awaited me. I wondered what might be in store as I headed to church again, and so soon into recovery after the last hospitalization. Would I feel God in the liturgy of the 2nd Sunday after Easter? Would I cry through the whole service, painful memories surfacing?
My mood today was much improved by hearing this on the way to church – a good reminder of one of my main coping skills: Breathe (Ryan Star, 11:59, 2010)
And Alleluia! I felt God in worship today! In the words of the people’s prayers, in the bread held in my hand as we waited to eat together, in the tap on the shoulder at the end with someone inviting me downstairs to coffee. I rejoiced that I FELT something, especially after months since the words and acts of faith meant something to me. How beautiful was the presence of God in fellowship, in belonging, even for a short time. But the rest …
… The rest of the time it was painful, excruciating at times, to feel God in some way in the prayer and in the sacrament. It dawned on me today that I was feeling pain, though I was feeling the Divine presence. As I’ve said face-to-face to some, echoing the chaplain I saw last week, the pruning of our spirit is painful. As is having to find new ways to encounter Spirit, since the old ways don’t seem to be bearing any fruit.
But really? Pain?
Part of it was the mourning I’ve been doing of being in the role of Minister of the Word and Sacrament. Not sitting on the chancel looking out upon the people of God and praying for them as I lead them in worship. Not saying ancient prayers. Not arguing over what was the right way to do something. 🙂
And part of it was mourning the last position I had – vivid pictures of leading that specific congregation in worship, my favorite part of being with them.
And part of it was the pain of the bread as the body of the Christ resting in my hand, and of the words of the prayers themselves. Oh, how they penetrate to the heart and open up dark places, deep places, and try to shine light on spirit that hasn’t seen the light of the alleluia in ages.
My spirit feels in prison. Yet escaping would hurt – layers peeled back for the healing of the Divine to soak in. On the way back home I heard this, which expressed the sense of imprisonment and yet the desire for saving: Savin Me (Nickelback, All the Right Reasons, 2005)
May the Alleluia of Easter penetrate your spirit today!