Glimpses of the Divine in the Mundane

It was an awesome old building, and the smell of incense and old wood was somehow spiritual in and of itself.  I thought it ironic that here I am, for the 3rd time that day in another church – yet I was kinda excited as I realized I had become my own experiment for the weekend – and told myself to just be open to what had landed in my lap.  The bishop of this Catholic cathedral was making his way up the aisle greeting people.  Surely he wouldn’t greet me, with me being a stranger and all.  As he made his way closer, I was intrigued with his genuine smile and concern for those he greeted.  He finally got to my row, and actually did speak – “are you taking notes?” he asked jovially.  I said “yes I enjoy writing” and he made a small joke, shook my hand while looking me in the eye.  There was a realness about him, as if the cloth he wore was a distraction from his true self – but it was cool somehow.  He didn’t wear it for the prestige of title it would give him, but you could tell he wore it because it happened to come with the job.  He cared greatly about the people present, more than about who he was or what he wore.  I was intrigued.  He joined the procession that began at the back of the cathedral, and made it’s way to the platform.  The singing was different, but the chant-like rythym made for great writing.  The Bible reading was straight-forward and simple, and when the prayer was offered, it brought tears to my eyes:  a voice would read, “for those in danger or peril” and we would answer, ” Lord hear our prayer; for those who are suffering with a loss of job, or a health issue – Lord hear our prayer; for those who are being persecuted or mistreated – Lord hear our prayer;… ”

Lord, hear our prayer…I was touched with the straight-forward request, and our reply of agreement.  As the smell of incense burned, and the chanting rose and fell, and the pews creaked with every human movement, I felt at peace.  Lord, hear our prayer – the irony of strangers coming together to plea with a Being greater than ourselves…strangers from all different walks of life, with different strengths, weaknesses, stresses, loves, habits, and even religious beliefs – all together in one place on a Saturday afternoon.  Indeed, Lord hear our prayer.  I crept out of the cathedral as the Lord’s supper was being served, the silence in the parking lot and the surrounding neighborhoods was an abrupt jolt back to reality.  The sun had set, the day was done, but I had to make one more stop…

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