Come let us bow down and bend our knee; let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.
Worship is a physical act. Just as some folks see lifting their hands as a sign of worship, we also see lifting our hands out to a neighbor as an act of worship. When we “pass the peace” and each other a hug or handshake, it is an act of worship. One way many Christians gesture during prayer is by making the “sign of the cross,” using their right hand to touch the forehead, then the middle of the breast, then the left shoulder, and finally the right shoulder. As they do this, they say, “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.” And it is a way that we can remember that we are to take up our own crosses. And it is a way we can remember that, as Paul said, “I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” As we cross ourselves, we pray that Christ will be in our minds and in our hearts and will live through us. –Common Prayer
Last night we set aside our piles of planning and headed over for mass at Mar Yousif Cathedral, or St Joseph’s Church. Services are held in the Syriac or Aramaic language, but as the smoky incense and heart pulsing song and chants filled the air I joined in worship with my brothers and sisters.
Well, my humble iPhone didn’t even begin to quite capture it, and neither did this morning’s Common Prayer meditation. But by tossing in a few repeats of Delores Washington singing “Oh Lord have mercy,” and rewatching today’s open for the “What is an Atom?” lesson, one might begin to capture the liturgical prayer that starts my every day: Oh Lord let my soul rise up to you as the day rises to meet the sun, Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever, Amen.
The East Syrian Rite passes the peace twice during mass, when each person looks another in the eye and cups their outstretched hands. Yesterday my cockroach in a baggie open led to a discussion of really seeing, and how does really seeing impact our relationship with the other. Wonder if our students learned to really see through the hustle and bustle of life? The International Baccalaureate diploma program has a rigorous focus not only on content and concepts, but on how they build global community with international-mindedness. And once again, faces lit up with understanding when we considered Jesus the master teacher who saw Zacchaeus and the bleeding woman. And it is totally true that although at first folks were totally uncomfortable pressed up against the squirming arthropod whose scientific name derives from the Latin blatta means "an insect that shuns the light,” today’s meditation from the Simple Way monastic community reminds us that they are often told by homeless friends that the only hug they receive all week long is in mass.
Thus, hopefully we have a church that is living a life of worship outside of Sunday, passing the peace on the streets and giving hugs away during the week, especially to those who smell a little.
Grant us the ability to think with Your mind, to hear with Your ears, to see with Your eyes, to speak with Your mouth to walk Your feet, to love with Your heart. We ask this through Christ our Lord, Amen.
Be in the light, as He is the light.