Running on Faure -
I love this time of year. I'm not certain why it is so, but the interplay of light and darkness, the glorious riot of color amidst leaves and sky, the wind in my face, the rain, it all plays so well for me, inviting me to worship.
It happened yet again this afternoon as I delayed my morning run in order to catch the sunset. I had my i-pod on shuffle, just taking what the electrons served up and as I turned towards the southwest, and the sunset, Gabriel Faure's 'Requiem' began. The juxtaposition of physical and musical beauty with the power of the words (Grant them Eternal Rest of Lord, and May Perpetual Light Shine on them) was overwhelming. Recently, this very Requiem was played as a benefit concert for Darfur victims, and I thought of the...there is no word to describe it... the powerful, poignant interplay between beauty and tragedy that is all around us every day. I prayed for those victims, and other victims I know, in Kenya, India, Syria, Bolivia, Iraq, Seattle. And I thought, especially of the 2nd line: "May Perpetual Light Shine on them". Yes Lord, perpetual light. May they encounter the light of Christ.
But then God reminds me of my studies today, in preparation for Sunday. That pesky text in Matthew 5 which tells me that I, along with the whole church of saints, AM the light of the world. It's as if God was saying, "Don't just pray... BE LIGHT." I'd rather jog and listen to music, thank you very much. Certainly there's a place for jogging, and music, and prayer. But lest any think that the previous post was some sort of call to dualistic piety or disengagement from service, know that God tells us again and again that the fruit of real relationship with Him is real relationship with suffering, condemned, and hurting of the world. And so I continue to pray that God will teach us how to cross lines and enter into service and compassion for those who are in the midst of horrors. Once I left the lake I walked home. The music changed, but the words of the Requiem continued to ring in my ears, and I decided that I needed to write them down as a prayer:
Grant Rest O Lord to those in the midst of unspeakable Horrors Let them see your Light You've called me - called your church - to BE the light that they might see the light Here we are - send us - next door or around the world. Forgive us for hiding behind pietist pretense -
let your light shine through us as we hear your voice and follow you.