Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Saying The Same Thing Differently

Sunday was blessed with a stream of busyness, one of those days where I find myself satisfyingly spent.   I woke at sixish to review and do final "I've slept on it" edits the sermon.  Then breakfast, a shower, and walking the dog.

Then first service, then a blisteringly fast congregational meeting, then second service.   Following second service, there was excellent conversation at bible study, as a mix of differently politically inclined folks talked about the spiritual implications of Ayn Rand's objectivism.  Good times.

Then a solid meeting about renewing and upscaling our podcasting efforts, followed by a gathering of folks who joined me in a very centering Walking Meditation out on the C&O Canal towpath.

And so, centered but with my introvert Ultraman Power Depletion Light already starting to glow red on my chest, I got on the bike and motored off through an impossibly gorgeous afternoon to meet with some gardening Lutherans.

We've been thinking about ways to use the large-ish lot to the south of the sanctuary, and one thing we're considering is the possibility of opening a portion of it up for use as a community garden.   But being Presbyterian and all, we want to make sure we have some clue what we're doing before we hurl ourselves into the breach.  So into the the sun-dappled loveliness of the gardens we were welcomed, and shown the good work of that congregation in both producing food for local food banks and living out creation care.   It was a solid, warm, helpful conversation.

As we wrapped up, our hosts invited us to share a prayer.  The Lord's Prayer, specifically.  As we started, I realized this would be difficult to do in unison, but we forged on.   Sure enough, our versions were different, and so we prayed over one another, speaking different words at different times.

I think folks might have felt a bit awkward about it, but with three neurotransmitters left to rub together, all I managed was a thanks and an "it's fine."

But honestly, as we were praying sins over debtors and "time of trial" over nothing at all, I wasn't reminded of difference.  It reminded me of a Korean Christian form of prayer I encountered often in my prior congregation.  I'd experienced it first in seminary, and it involves everyone praying at once...not together, but out loud.  

It can feel a bit odd for those used to unison collective recitation, but when done in a group, the effect is that of wind blowing through leaves in a forest.  Each leaf flutters differently, but together all contribute to give voice to the wind.

It felt appropriate.