03 January, 2007

Moments in Time...

As much as I wanted to christen the new quilting table yesterday, I couldn’t. I did some damage to my lower back when I was moving a sewing machine on Sunday morning and knew that if I didn’t surrender, at least temporarily, to a heating pad and Aleve I’d be in for much more trouble later. The sideline rest had its benefit, I watched Gerald Ford’s State Funeral from the National Cathedral with all its ceremony and magnificent splendor. I was in awe at the assembled dignitaries and broke out in goose bumps when the hymns were sung by the choir. I marveled over the speeches by Henry Kissinger and Tom Brokaw and cried for the family when the flag-wrapped coffin was loaded onto the Michigan-bound jet amid the haunting strains of “Goin’ Home”, Dvorak’s 9th Symphony.

But, above all, it was Denyce Graves' vocals that I will remember the most when I think back on this service. She sang The Lord’s Prayer with such grace and at the same time dynamic force, that it took my breath away. It was indeed, a moment in time, for all time; one I won’t forget.

This reminded me of another moment in time; a time when I worshiped in a congregation where The Lord’s Prayer wouldn’t/couldn’t be forgotten. This congregation was comprised of many cultures and nationalities, all gathering together in a centuries old building in Geneva for an Evangelical Lutheran service; preached in English, by a Pastor from Canada. There comes a time in the liturgy following the Great Thanksgiving when the congregation is called upon to pray the Lord’s Prayer. This Pastor, in Geneva, astutely called on this congregation to pray the prayer that our Lord taught us, “in the language in which you learned it”. And so it was; there in one place, at one time, praying together one prayer to one God in every language! There we stood, shoulder to shoulder, from Belize, from Hungary, from Malawi, from the United States all speaking a different language… it was disconcerting at first, a cacophony, everyone finishing at different times; and yet it was comforting too, realizing that God heard and understood each and every syllable uttered amid that buzz of languages. I came to look forward to praying in this fashion and miss it sorely still, even today.

As I step gently, tenuously, into this New Year I reflect on where I’ve been, gratefully accept where I am and eagerly anticipate where I am going. I will pray the prayer that our Lord taught us (in the language in which I learned it!) with fervor and excitement; comforted in the knowledge that He hears, He understands, all people at all times… forever and ever.


Life is Good!


Flake said...

Hope your back gets better soon.

Shelina said...

So sorry you aren't feeling well. Be sure to take care of yourself so you can get better soon. Hearing the prayer in so many languages does sound like it would be very inspiring.

Nancy Near Philadelphia said...

Beautifully told, Mz. G.

Ancestor Collector said...

We did this also in our church....The Lord's Prayer was spoken in German, Swedish, Greek, Spanish, Swahili, French, Norwegian, and of course, English, all at the same time. It was truly beautiful!

Hmmm, we have our bad backs in common this week....Advil and heat are my constant companions. I wish us both relief.