To create a space for all our words,
Drawing us to listen inward and outward.
We seldom notice how each day is a holy place
Where the eucharist of the ordinary happens,
Transforming our broken fragments
Into an eternal continuity that keeps us.
Somewhere in us a dignity presides
That is more gracious than the smallness
That fuels us with fear and force,
A dignity that trusts the form a day takes.
So at the end of this day, we give thanks
For being betrothed to the unknown
And for the secret work
Through which the mind of the day
And the wisdom of the soul becomes one.
In the writings of Celtic theologian, writer, and philosopher, John O’Donohue, he speaks to the eternal longing for rituals in our lives. Cave paintings reflect this ancient need to both name the sacred and establish space for our human longings, sadness, milestones, or fears. In an instant, the pandemic halted our collective rituals. From the silent streets of Rome during Holy Week, the empty subways of New York City every morning, or the abandoned classrooms all over the world, we find ourselves walking blindly each day, in search of new ways to mark the monuments of our lives. We read the rising numbers each day, receive new requests for prayers from friends, neighbors, or family members who are ill, hospitalized, or who died alone. We worry, we cry, we put funerals on hold. In the silence of this new world, the din of our collective loss reverberates in the emptiness.
And so, we gather on the front steps of our homes and apartments each Friday to applaud our healthcare workers and first responders. We sing hymns from balconies, build puzzles, bake bread, write poems, collect stories from grandparents, cherishing the sounds of their voices in the spaces between the worries and the fears and the daily question: “how are you feeling? And we pray, every day, in ways we never knew we needed or noticed. In order to create, as
Donohue writes, “a space for all our words, drawing us to listen inward and outward, to recognize the holy places we seldom knew existed and where the eucharist of the ordinary happens, transforming our broken fragments into an eternal continuity that keeps us.
May you find “the dignity that resides” in these new rituals that transform our brokenness into the grace of “eternal continuity.”
-- The Rev. Katie Solter, St. Mark’s School
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