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Friends are friends forever

by davesandel on June 27th, 2020

Saturday, June 27, 2020                      (today’s lectionary)

Friends are friends forever

The shadows that fall in the corners of my church welcome me. No bad will here, or doubt and fear, because I settle in these darknesses as if into a womb. What will be will be. Days of wine and roses, days of fear and trembling are all the makings of a life, one life among many. Just one life, mine, thrown up into the air with faith, or confidence, or hope … pick a word.

God picks up my pieces every time, and somehow makes me whole again.

Jeremiah’s words prick my conscience, as I notice my lack of allegiance. They make me glad for those dark corners, where I can catch my breath and start again.

The Lord has consumed our town without pity

So we sit on the ground in silence

Bowed heads of old men

And even maidens

Watching babies die

I vomit into the dust

I am worn out with weeping

“Help me!”

“Do not take my …” but the request remains unfinished

The baby is gone forever.

Great as the sea is our downfall

Our prophets were wrong!

They must have been bribed to lie

So we cry out day and night

Rise up shrill from out the dust

In the heavy night dark starry sky

At the crack of every dawn

Burning up in midday sun

What else can we do?

But always, to pour our hearts out like water

Pleading in our praise,

“O Lord, help us!”

Lord, forget not the souls of your poor ones

Our God does not forget. He removes our infirmities and carries our diseases. He weeps alongside his children, and brings life where there seemed to be none.

O Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof

Only say the word and my servant will be healed.

These words enrich a million billion lives every day of a mass partaken. And Jesus appreciates those simple words of the centurion almost more than he can express …

Such faith there is, right here!

Come, faithful one, recline with me at supper

Sit with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob

And all the saints

Let me touch your hand

Watch the fearful fever fade away

Just rest now

Feel the cool breeze of dawn

Midday

Evening

Let me repair your broken walls

Let me remove your infirmities and bear your disease

 O Lord, you are so good to me!

On this Saturday, Sabbath for so many, prelude to church on Sunday for so many others, here is a poem by Clarence Heller about the shadows rich with promise in the corners of his church, my church and yours …

HOLY SOULS

The holy souls are here,

In the flickering flame of a candle,

In the silence between the notes

In the smell of the air.

 

The holy souls who carried the mortar,

Who polished the floors,

Who brought their babies for baptism,

And who mourned their loved ones a t funerals.

The holy souls are here.

 

It is a cold place,

Not unlike a mausoleum,

Yet propelled into life through the

History

Wisdom

Perseverance

And faith

That dwell here.

The coldness aches to be warmed

With love and friendship and devotion

 

Can you hear their footsteps?

Can you image them lighting candles

A hundred years ago, just as you might today?

We smell the same incense,

We yearn for the same things,

And they remind us that we are connected across time,

And that when our warmth becomes cold we will live on,

Not only through the structure of the church,

But not separate from it either.

 

Yes, the holy souls are here

And we are here with them.

I imagine Clarence, who is my friend and a spiritual director in St. Louis, sitting alone in his church as he wrote. He also paints and draws, creative prayer aided by his developed skill of engineering draftsmanship.

But now his hands are simply still. Clarence sits alone and listens. The “we” that emerges so strongly from his poem is not, at this moment, present.

Or is it?

In the silence we are ALL with Clarence, and the centurion, and Peter’s mother, even with Jeremiah and the maidens who have lost their babies. In all the dark corners AND out there where the stunning stained glass greets the sun, we see, we see!

Now and for all time we have become a crowded cloud of witnesses, clamoring to touch and hug, and just gently kiss each other’s holy soul.

            (Lamentations 2, Psalm 74, Matthew 8)

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One Comment
  1. Don Savaiano permalink

    Silence and solitude in and old church, as I kneel before the Eucharist, is where holiness can flourish and I become one with ALL that is : GOD!

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