At morning prayer (beginning at The Revelation to John 10:7-11)
Then the voice that I had heard from heaven spoke to me again, saying, “Go, take the scroll that is open in the hand of the angel who is standing on the sea and on the land.” So I went to the angel and told him to give me the little scroll; and he said to me, “Take it, and eat; it will be bitter to your stomach, but sweet as honey in your mouth.” So I took the little scroll from the hand of the angel and ate it; it was sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it, my stomach was made bitter. Then they said to me, “You must prophesy again about many peoples and nations and languages and kings.”
...sometimes the ecstatic vision of the Revelation to John is just what is called for...
Yesterday I went and served as celebrant and preacher at a local church. It has been a long bit of desert since I celebrated a Sunday mass... I was filled and emptied at the same time --preached a little about costumes and dressing up for Halloween and seeing through costumes to the inner voice -the soul, and what about those persons who have donned the costume of throwing money around in the market place, dressing up in unnecessarily gaudy clothes, not doing what they themselves teach, putting heavy burdens on others and not being willing to lift a finger themselves --all the pretense... can we see through those things, that type of costume, to the inner voice --to their soul... and do as Jesus would do --be present, work for reconciliation and healing, restoration.... Offer ourselves....
Stuff like that is really sweet in the mouth, but drives the stomach crazy in a persistent bitterness. Such is a Christian life --one thinks it is supposed to be all sweetness and light, what with L.O.V.E. and all that... but it really is a walk in the valley of the shadow of death and sin --cuz that is what we are called to do --walk in love in to those crevices of the heart for the sake of the world.
Eyes wide open. Stomachs girded. Vulnerable. Willing.
And celebrating mass yesterday --the words come out so sweet, but when met with the behind-the-scenes realities of the human condition --the tears, the grief spilled over, the remembrances, the conversations in the narthex --the behind the costume life.... a holy walk.
It takes intestinal fortitude....
--and more love, --just a little scroll.... and a whole life. Girded. Vulnerable. Willing. Broken.
Hey God --it's margaret here... I pray for the widows and widowers of this world who know love lost, for all those whose love has been betrayed, for the children all dressed up --may we all listen to the desires of their hearts where no secrets are hid and walk the way through the valley of the shadow of death without pretense --naked --remembering the sweetness in the mouth as the fortitude required to digest it sets in.... as grains of wheat scattered on a hillside made one in the bread of ages --
--gratitude. And on this Day Before we give thanks for the cloud of witnesses --gratitude, sweet gratitude...
--and the sudden news that Occupy Richmond was bulldozed over night --makes my stomach bitter... S.O. V.E.R.Y. B.I.T.T.E.R.... those that refused to flee before the bulldozer were arrested... And so it goes.
...and the faithful remnant?
--the bitterness of the sweetness we know.
Lord have mercy.