it was peaceful this noon, sitting in a sun-washed church, meditating before the service began. it's Ash Wednesday by some calendars. i walked over to the church early, forgetting if the service is usually at 10 of or 10 past. the building is well-established, having been settling in for over two hundred years. the Cabots, at least, have worshipped there. perhaps the Lodges, as well. looking around at the spare lines, muted tones, the one or two elegant touches (an Oriental rug at the altar, a glass chandelier that reflects the light), it's easy to slip into reflection. focusing softly on the shutters behind the altar, i realized that there were colors seeping through. beautiful stained glass windows, tucked away, making themselves known only to those who open their eyes a little.
it's a release to go to this service. i used to find it a necessary chore, in order to earn entrance to Easter services. but more and more, the relief of setting down one's burden in a familiar setting is a welcome catharsis.
there are some of my friends who find it odd that i'm 'religious'; i think they find it off-putting and out of character. others wonder why i don't go every week. i've long given up defending myself to either camp. my spirituality is grounded in my upbringing, for which i am grateful. the familiar hymns and psalms come from many years of weekly attendance. and slipping back into that place every so often is a kind of homecoming. or, more accurately, a way to honor my history. and those rhythyms stay with me in the everyday. always, hearing the words from Matthew give a welcome framework. they whisper to my heart, and i find myself back, years ago in Sunday school, hearing them for the first time. i see my best friend from high school singing the words from today's lesson. and i hear them again today. 'For where your treasure is, there will you heart be also.'
connecting with David in today's lessons, i could see how truly human we all are, how very alike we are, even when separated by continents and eons. we are fallible. here is a king, Samuel's chosen, who has plotted the death of a friend. and before God, he presents himself as human, contrite. a broken and contrite heart You will not despise. we are more alike than different.
asking forgiveness today for the anger borne of our own frustrations, i heard myself saying the words i needed. there has been too much anger lately, from my own frustrations, on too many fronts. naming that burden for what it is, seeing the separation it causes, and being willing to set it down and walk away is the beginning of a healing. i've never really believed in denial as the salient point of Lent; giving up chocolate for 40 days does no one any good. instead, i've tried to take up something - volunteering, some project for others. this year? i think it's time to work on one of my resolutions for this year, and set aside time for some meditation or reflection each day, so that the contrition and healing can continue.