When I was a little girl, Sunday mornings were reserved for church. It was a ritual. We would get all dressed up in our Sunday best, pile into my dad’s car and arrive as one big family of 6 at the church with lots of time to spare. My dad didn’t like being late.
Inevitably, between home and entering the portals of the church, something in my apparel would have come askew. My mother would straighten my skirt. Tuck in my blouse and lick her finger to wipe away some spot of dirt that had managed to find its way to my cheek.
Inside, on the hard wooden pew, my sister and I would sit side by side, our feet not quite touching the floor, swinging our legs and subtly, and sometimes not so subtly, pushing and prodding at each other. My father would grumble about our behaviour and my mother would caution us to Shush.
They didn’t have Sunday School during Catholic mass so we would squirm and wiggle our way through the hour and half mass, kneeling and standing and bowing our heads in tandem with the rest of the congregation, repeating the well worn phrases of the mass, even when the words were in Latin.
Fifty years later, though I seldom attend mass now, I still know when to stand and when to kneel. When to bow my head and when to touch my breast three times with clenched fist and whisper Holy. Holy. Holy.
Cellular memory runs deep.
What is forgotten over the intervening decades is my connection to the holiness of everything. My connection to the greatness of nature. The oneness of life.
We live in an age of lost intimacy with the oneness that runs through life touching us all. Human. Animal. Plant.
We live in an age of acquiring information while forgetting to dig into the roots of our deep and abiding knowledge of life’s divine presence in each of us.
On those Sunday’s when I was a child, there was no question in my mind that God was not present in the church. I saw him in the bowed heads of the congregation. I felt him in the hushed silence, the flickering candles, the incense burning, the light streaming in through a stained glass window.
God. The Divine. Yaweh. Spirit. Whatever word you use to describe the sacred nature of life was there, in each of us as we stood together to listen to the priest, to hear the holy words, to share the wine and bread. Just as he was there in countless other churches and services and temples and mosques around the globe where humankind gathered together to praise the holy nature of life on earth.
Places of worship bring us together. They remind us of our holy nature, our divine essence. Our Oneness. They connect us to the goodness in each of us, the wonder of our world, the sacredness of our time on earth.
It is outside the walls of worship, beyond the portal doors that I struggle to stay connected, to remember my essence, like your essence, is sacred by nature. That we are all one. All together on this one planet spinning through space held to the earth by the invisible strands of gravity’s grace and the miraculous nature of life.
Take time today to stop and breathe deeply and remember, You are Divine. Just the way you were born. It is your nature. It is all our nature. We are all the divine expression of amazing grace and light. Magnificent and perfect in all our human imperfections.