Sunday, April 03, 2005

Orans

I should subtitle this post "The Week That Should Have Sucked, But Didn't."

My mother's trip to the neurologist to check out hand numbness following her wrist fracture didn't result in the sort of conclusive diagnosis and course of treatment we were hoping for...leaving her frustrated and impatient.

I found out that the Bush administration is proposing cuts in social programs for the next fiscal year that could well make my job redundant by October. And in the meantime I am going to have to spend more of my work time fundraising, just to add an extra unpleasant dimension to my walk down the plank.

Every time I listen to or read the news, the litany of geopolitical mess is like another punch in the gut. "How long, o Lord, how long?"

I watched, with the rest of the world, two slow, sad, complicated public deaths.

I continued to put up with a couple of relatively silly but persistent internal melodramas that tend to generate low-grade verklemptitude in my life.

Despite all of this, I'm -- how can I put this? -- happy. Today the old Shaker hymn, "How Can I Keep From Singing?" kept running through my mind. I was even singing the liturgy, which we don't actually do much of in our church, in the car today, on the way to Sunday dinner: Word of Life, Jesus Christ, all glory to you...our hearts burn within us while you open to us the Scriptures...Word of Life, Jesus Christ, all praise to you. (My mother giving me a quizzical look suggesting, "How much wine did you drink this morning?..." Or maybe, "Turn up Ira Glass before you break a window.")

Maybe this is sort of a delayed reaction to Easter...I tend to be slow on the uptake anyway. But I think it was also part of our Gospel text this morning: The risen Jesus visiting the frightened disciples and telling them, not once but twice, "Peace be with you." Now, The CEO and I generally have a droll, ironic sort of relationship (which, I'm learning, is entirely consistent with the inherent irony and playfulness of the Torah texts...so I'm really not just making this stuff up)...but every once in awhile, when I really need to be remedially brothered, he shows up and does that for me. (The CEO also notes that at other times I need to be remedially bothered, and he's quite happy to do that for me too.) I've felt very brothered today. That's been a gift.

All of which brings me to the title of my post. I never used to pay a great deal of attention to prayer posture, but I am finding that there are times when the orans position, hands raised, is the way I want to do it. (Even though any time now I expect the ELCA to come and pull my union card.) Tonight's one of those times. It's been a good day, one filled with the peace that passeth understanding.

Let my prayer rise before you as incense;
The lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.

5 comments:

Keli said...

So that's what that's called! As a Worship Assistant, I want to pray like that during the Song of Praise, but do I? Oh goodness no! That might cause heart attacks and shock! Someday, I'll come up with the courage.

bls said...

I know what you mean about those moments of irrational happiness. Easter did it to me this year, too. (Although right now, as you can see, I'm in a sort of fierce, don't-mess-with-us-anymore sort of mood. Apparently these things can live relatively well together in one person at one time.)

Sorry about your Mom. And your job. And the world. I agree. The peace which passeth understanding, though, is a Godsend - so to speak - at times like this. Glad to hear you're OK.

LutheranChik said...

Keli: When I went to my first LMTP retreat, and we went to chapel in the morning, I was quite intrigued that whenever the pastor held out the palms of her hands and said, "The Lord be with you," a goodly number of my fellow

students responded bodily as well as verbally, likewise lifting up their hands and answering, "And also with you." I understand that some parishes are encouraging this as a way to teach the laity that the liturgy is two-way...it's a conversation, or a duet, between the leaders and the people in the pew.

Don't feel bad about not lifting up your hands...I have a very northern-European reluctance to be physically demonstrative in church, so any orans I have been engaged in has been within the privacy of my "closet" (so to speak).;-)

LutheranChik said...

Bls: From what I understand, agencies like ours and their associations are sending lobbyists to Washington to plead our case, and I'm sure some of our clients, who tend to be easily rileable, will be riled to the point of contacting their congresspeople. Whatever. And I haven't updated my resume in six years, so I suppose it's time. Maybe this is my opportunity to chuck it all, move to some bohemian resort village up north and become -- oh, I don't know -- an organic-coffee barista or wildcrafted jam maker or some such thing.;-)

LutheranChik said...

Thank you, BTW, for your kind thoughts.:-) The neurologist did mention the possibility of occupational therapy for my mom, but we have to wait for the final report on what exactly is going on in her wrist.

Last week was Mom's birthday, and since it was such a bummer for her, this Sunday I took her on a little adventure trip to our nearest moderate-sized city, where we wound up in an authentic Mexican restaurant -- i.e., actual Latino owners, no drive-thru window;-), homecooked food using fresh ingredients, etc. We had a great time. Next outing -- tandoori chicken at an Indian place in the same strip mall. (Mom, to my surprise, likes curry.) Sometimes ol' LC hits a home run in the recreational-therapy department;-), even though my mother had to put up with my liturgical warbling for 30 miles.