I wonder what you wonder about when you enter this space, within these walls. Once you know you’re on time - or, like me with my family, reconcile yourself to being late - and you breathe to bring your soul and your body together, become a true person again in a true time and place, I wonder what you notice. Or don’t notice. I wonder what captures your mind’s attention.
I wonder if you wonder about the narthex and the pamphlets on the tables and just what it is they want from you, anyway. Do you wonder about the font and holy water and what makes water holy? Do you wonder about who is here and/or if you know them? (Or maybe who is absent.) Do you wonder about the ones you passed by as you walked down the street and up the corner steps through the doors? I wonder if you wonder about the windows and/or the light that paints scripture like rainbows through the air. They’re beautiful. Do you wonder why this space is so very, very long? Long like life, and how, like life, in some places you can feel so very close to God, and other places can feel so very far away, all within one space.
I wonder if you wonder about the fragrance, what this place smells like. Is it for you the perfume of holiness - the reminder of a place worn thin by prayer - or is it the musty odor of a now-foreign world whose expectations you fear you’ve disappointed?
I wonder if you wonder about the ceiling. And what difference fans so high above you can make to those of us so far below. I wonder if you wonder about the organ and the music that frame our worship, and Augustine’s claim that to sing is to pray twice. Do you wonder about prayer, I wonder, and if any amount of it could help the Badger’s football team this year? Do you wonder about your life in the midst of this space and so much wonder and wonder if God hears your voice at all?
I wonder if you wonder about the saints that gather around the table. The communion of saints, visible, invisible, the angels, archangels, and all the company of heaven; the way, in this place, heaven kisses earth. I wonder if you wonder about the bread and wine and the mystery, the share in incarnation, and how the Spirit invoked on bread and wine is likewise invoked on you.
I wonder if you wonder about preachers and sinners (which are of course the same thing) and how grace is a balm for the worn, wounded soul. I wonder if you wonder about your own soul, your own inevitable frustration (it will come) in learning to see that in this life you do not know yourself best of all. I wonder if you wonder about your hope in this moment.
When James says, “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you,” I wonder if you wonder if you want this. Or if he will. Or if God does. Or if God is. I wonder.
I wonder if you wonder about how it is the liturgy would train you, shape you, what kind of life beyond this hour God means to give to you.
This place is full of wonder.
I want to invite us into a short silence just now; we’ll end our silence with a song Rebekah will teach us.
Let all who are thirsty come, let all who wish receive the water of life, freely. Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. Amen. Come, Lord, Jesus.
For St Francis House, 9.23.2012