Monday, May 28, 2007

A Call to Worship

I fall to my knees.

Drawn not by fear, or need, or any force of conviction – simply drawn by an intangible magnetism. A slight tug on all my limbs like a minute increase in gravity that urges me to kneel and prostrate myself and bow my head.

And when I do, a brilliant light peeks through clouds of darkness and spreads a burnished and visionary carpet around me of green gilded with gold. I remain with head bowed, sensing that the light is too blinding, too bright to look in the face of.

I grope at the earth, the soil of time – as old as creation, itself. I dig my bare hands into the ground. I seek deliverance like a frantic soul rocked by an earthquake. Hoping I will find reprieve—through penance. Repentance through covering myself with dirt, clay, and the rotting fecal material of cattle rather than sackcloth and ashes.

I do the thing I am only gently compelled to do, yet too weak to turn from. Despite the manure embedding itself under my fingernails, and sharp blades of grass cutting my hands, and slow-bruising stones pressing into my legs, I remain kneeling and frantically groping at the gritty soil.

And then from nowhere a breeze comes rippling, rippling, and suddenly and unexpectedly tosses my hair into an upward sweep. It strokes me with a warm gentle softness around my ears, forehead, and brows giving me the same ease and shivering-delight of a child when a soft brush is swept against his downy head.

Another, almost imperceptible, waft of magical air presses and holds me firm in sacred-worship-form. Worship of earth and day and light and life. And that same current of air makes indiscernible my physical discomfort.

I slip into another dimension. I am now only aware that I am among the resurrected. In awe and wonder I examine the tender and refreshing aspect of those recalled from their tombs.

I expected it. After all, this is my faith. So that being the case, why am I so filled with wonder at this trans-reversal? I guess because I had lost so much confidence in the faith. I was so filled with doubt. Doubt that resurrection can not come when death had been too long a sleep. That is part of my doubt but the other part of my doubt-blame falls on those who insist God’s voice is audible. What nonsense? Spirits have no physical voice-box. They are soundless. All that is spoken by God is spoken through forces and processes of nature.

But despite that analysis, my doubt is forceful. After all, these were cadavers trapped in the grasp of the terminator’s bitter cold and ice, and mold and decay for what had seemed to me, a never-ending season.

But here, in the garden, doubt flies like a helium balloon unanchored. Here I find the truth of the message of resurrection. And the marvel of it renews me, the light renews me, new life renews me, the breeze renews me. And so, deep within my soul, I too, am resurrected and reborn. Faith in resurrection is reaffirmed.

And so the unscheduled call to worship concludes. More than two hours have zipped by. Prayers are finished and I arise. An erect stance comes slowly as the separate vertebrae in my back slowly unlock one link at a time.

But that cursed perennial garden is cleansed, the dirt is fluffed, the weeds discarded. And as I make a pilgrimage back to house and home, with legs bruised, fingernails torn and hands chapped and dry, I wipe stomata from my brow. Bleeds of purged disillusionment and doubt.

As I withdraw, I smell the soot and charcoal stench of the damned. The stove is still on and supper is burning.


Anonymous said...

Yeah, gardening is quite an out-of-body experience, isn't it? Neat thoughts here. And, the garden's done.

Matty said...

Good God!For a minute there you had me worried. Thought you were on a mind-blowing trip of some sort....well, I guess you were.
I was 35 before I ever worked in a garden. One day while weeding, I spied a green pepper,,,,fully-formed, the size of my little nail. I turned to my brother and said..'you can't possibly work in a garden and not believe in God.? as I held up this perfect specimen.
"No" he said, "you can't". Since then I've been gardening.

Joy Des Jardins said...

Ah...for the grace of gardening. Beautiful post Roberta.

Pauline said...

oh, well done! loved the comparisons of weeding and penance, of the damned and supper burning!

Roberta S said...

Hi anonymous. Thanks for the favorable comment.

And matty, so sorry I frightened you. Puppies are adorable, baby kittens too cute, but I think a wee pepper like that would be just as emotionally touching. Thanks for the little thought about gardening faith.

Hi joy, thanks for visiting. Much appreciated.

And pauline, I take all that you say with all seriousness. And because you have such a fine grip on poetry and picturesque (sp?) language, such a favorable critique, I take really seriously. Thanks.