A few weeks ago as I was celebrating Eucharist on Sunday morning I experienced an odd, unexpected commentary emerging in my head. As I read the words of thanksgiving--words I have read hundreds of times, words rooted in nearly 2000 years of ancient tradition, words reflecting the deeply held beliefs of millions, words that echo in hearts around the globe--they seemed out of sync.
It was as though the crafting of those words were half a beat behind the pulse of the day. Rather than speaking to the anxiety of the times and the dissonance of competing rhetoric, the words of the liturgy streamed with a thinness of irrelevance. The daily concerns of the people in the pew had outpaced the eloquent phrasing, and the burdens of a community hungry for solace and delivery on biblical promises flattened the hope carried by generations of the faithful.
It was an experience that, rather than causing distress within me, opened a door of opportunity to consider a new way to understand the holy promise that in Christ God makes all things new. In that moment of awareness, acknowledgement and clarity light splashed on a path previously unseen. It was barely perceptible, shadowed as it was by traditions groaning under the weight of repetition. The God of surprises was lost in the fog that passes for familiarity, and the mystery of the Word made flesh was hidden from view by the petty concerns of the powerless seeking a foothold in a world where power is all. And then, the glimpse was extinguished by the need to continue the pattern of words and extend the invitation to the table.
Until yesterday. As I listened to NPR's On Point and the wheels began to turn in response to the inspiration flowing up from within, the prescient liturgical moment returned for consideration. This time it came with a framework and a language, although the "how to" manual was conspicuously absent. No matter. Once is an occurrence, but twice, anchored in the composition of a blog post, is on its way to becoming a pattern.
What lies before me is vast and overwhelming, but likewise it is breathtaking and life-giving. Now to hunker down and dwell with the Spirit and let prayers rise like incense. Holy Moly.