Sunday, January 07, 2007

unfeigned light

so i didn't want to just come up with something happy to say. to pop out of the box, because those who know me, who read me would know it were a lie. i had to wait, until the time for my emergence. and today, the liturgy blessed me again. the hymns, called me from the darkness into the light. i don't understand it really, though in speaking with my dear brother in law (saint of God), he said,
the bible speaks that way.
but i've intersected a conversation i did not give you the preface to, forgive me. i was telling him how staid the liturgy appeared to me for so many years. a dead stick in the water. but that was my ignorance speaking. i did not know it. i had not lived with it, and let it live with me.

my family, thirty of us at least, used to cram in the livingroom of my granmda's house and sing christmas carols. in the way many churches still do, skipping verses. today, was the first day i've ever seen this stanza in we three kings, and i've sung that song every year of my life since time immemorial.

Myrrh is mine, its bitter perfume
Breathes a life of gathering gloom;
Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying,
Sealed in the stone cold tomb.

God so gets darkness. He is not afraid of it. it has not overcome. it will not overcome. i actually listened to my priest today as he described the long darkness which has tried to devour the church. and my heart ached.

we do not get to walk this road unencumbered. we do not get to dart from light to light, though we can try. and perhaps some will be far more illuminated than i, but that is not the road i'm called to. it is not the zipping about from victory to victory in the sense of always appearing to be victorious. these inner giants, these damned darknesses i encounter are not for me to just banish. but to, strangely enough, reckon with. i still believe that.

some of the other hymns that made my inner (the church bells ring now, such a strange glorious intrusion. there again. three tolls. distinct. deliberate. sounding. three more now. penetrating homes and hearts alike. three more. it is noon, the hour of prayer, the catholic church bells now sound a chorus unknown to me by name, but a call to prayer), bells toll. all i could do was bow my head and say,
here i am again Lord, dragging myself back to You. have me. do what You will. here i am.

and somehow, through the liturgy and hymns, though they were penned ages ago, He speaks.
as my brother in law said,
as the bible does.
and this is the light, this feast of epiphany that has broken through my darkness. the Light has not been overcome.

1 comment:

Deborah Gyapong said...

This is a wonderful post, Suz.

I sure wish we had loud, old-fashioned church bells around here.

At our little cathedral we sing all the verses and sometimes I find myself chafing at how long the carols are. But then when I really ponder the theology I see why.

You're right that too often modern Christians try to skip from Victory to Victory---like just honoring Christmas and Easter as if there is no slaughter of the innocents or Good Friday in between.

So much of modern praise music is like that too---happy, clappy with no minor tones. What a relief it is to know that our Lord is not only victorious over sin and death, but also that he is acquainted with grief.

Blessings and Happy New Year,