Another Sunday morning comes. After the chill of an overnight low of 41, quite cold for Southern California, we rush about, making and eating breakfast, spilling water into neglected flower beds before August heat further wilts the sorry blooms, dressing stiffly in our best clothes, then piling into the van to drive into the city, leaving purpled mountains sheened with Grace behind.
The music in church this morning is loud. We slide into the last row of teal chairs hooked together, trying to adjust to volume of guitar and drum and voice. The songs are mostly new, unfamiliar, belted out with vigor. After attempting to worship to two of the songs, I give up, opening Psalter instead, praying through Psalms for the Eighth Morning. The intrusive cacophony fades into the background of my mind, and I find myself praising with the Psalmist from the fortieth Psalm:
I WAITED patiently for the LORD, * and he inclined unto me, and heard my calling.My heart quiets, and, at last, a more mellow, more familiar song sets us into Communion. I turn in my prayer book to the beginning of the Office of Holy Communion, bow my head, and fix my heart...to worship in Word and Deed.
He brought me also out of the horrible pit, out of the mire and clay, * and set my feet upon the rock, and ordered my goings.
And he hath put a new song in my mouth, * even a thanksgiving unto our God.
Many shall see it, and fear, * and shall put their trust in the LORD.
Blessed is the man that hath set his hope in the LORD, * and turned not unto the proud, and to such as go about with lies.
O LORD my God, great are the wondrous works which thou hast done, like as be also thy thoughts, which are to us-ward; * and yet there is no man that ordereth them unto thee.
Ruminate Magazine posted this poem by Wendell Berry on its Facebook page this morning, and I resonate with the idea of God's Creation all a-worship in His Grace....
"Another Sunday Morning Comes..."Walking forward to worship in His grace, both with the family of God and with the woods and wilds,
by Wendell Berry, from A Timbered Choir.
Another Sunday morning comes
And I resume the standing Sabbath
Of the woods, where the finest blooms
Of time return, and where no path
Is worn but wears its makers out
At last, and disappears in leaves
Of fallen seasons. The tracked rut
Fills and levels; here nothing grieves
In the risen season. Past life
Lives in the living. Resurrection
Is in the way each maple leaf
Commemorates its kind, by connection
Outreaching understanding. What rises
Rises into comprehension
And beyond. Even falling raises
In praise of light. What is begun
Is unfinished. And so the mind
That comes to rest among the bluebells
Comes to rest in motion, refined
By alteration. The bud swells,
Opens, makes seed, falls, is well,
By becoming what it is:
Miracle and Parable,
Exceeding thought because it is.
Immeasurable; the understander
Encloses understanding, thus
Darkens the light. We can stand under
No ray that is not dimmed by us.
The mind that comes to rest is tended
In ways that it cannot intend:
Is borne, preserved, and comprehended
By what it cannot comprehend.
Your Sabbath, Lord, thus keeps us by
Your will, not ours. And it is fit
Our only choice should be to die
Into that rest, or out of it.