My Grace

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

2 Corinthian 12:9 (NIV)

I feel my body settle in. I don’t try and grab my thoughts and wrestle them. I let them fly and concentrate on my breathing. Breathe in on a count of 4, breathe out on a count of 4. Measured. Slow. Mindful. Yoga in the middle of the cathedral. Stone cathedral, wooden pews, parchment, plate and pyx, to quote the poem.

And me.

I am a traditional and conservative Anglican. I have no problem with a confession that says there is no health in me. I appreciate the language of death and hell. I appreciate the prosaic beauty of the Apostolic creed in 1921 language that tells me Jesus descended to hell and shall come again to judge the quick and the dead. Cadence in staccato that tells me what I believe: the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body. We call old language flowery, but I find it almost ostentatious in its bluntness.

The psalms are gory and painful. The reading from Joel talks of turning plowshares into swords, calling us to war. The Gospel reading talks about letting children come unto Him. Syria, I think? Darfur? No man’s lands filled with children?

The collects, the prayers for the sick, the dying, the dead. No mindless banality. Life broken down to those who are thankful, those who are sick, those who are dying, those who are dead, those who mourn.

I breathe in and out. This world is so plain. No music, no dance. No stupid and sappy words making us all feel better about life. The sick, the dying and the dead. Those who are thankful and those who mourn. Stone church, wooden pew and breathing in and out.

Because isn’t that all of us, really?

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2 Responses to My Grace

  1. Maureen says:

    I grew up partly Novice Order Catholic and part Traditional Roman Catholic (with a little bit of Orthodox thrown in for good measure… don’t ask. Families are complicated). Particularly in the Traditional Masses, I always find the whole thing a song and dance. A reflective dance yet a forward looking one at the same time. I rarely go to Traditional Masses at this point. But when I do, the bluntness of that form of religion both confronts me and comforts me. I too am hyperaware of my surroundings when I go to Traditional Masses. They have been in some of the most beautiful old stone churches with marble floors and deeply aged wooden pew, to attics, barns, and low end motel rooms.

    Abiding with you.

  2. loribeth says:

    I think you are my kind of Anglican, Mrs. Spit. ; ) I love the language of the old Book of Common Prayer, and think it’s sad that it is so seldom used these days (relegated to the 7:30 a.m. service at our local church. I love it, but not THAT much…!) . ; )

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