Friday, February 10, 2012

Bricks, stones and prayers

BERKELEY -- I am heading East today. I've been here most of the week for meetings at the Church Divinity School of the Pacific, our seminary in the West serving the entire Episcopal Church and the Pacific Rim.

Last night was the weekly community night when students, faculty, staff and administrators gather to pray, hear the Word of God, and share in the bread and wine of Holy Eucharist. The school is smaller now than it was when I was here in the 1990s. There was something about the gathering last night that reminded me of what the first disciples must have been like.

It was more intimate than when I was here, and these disciples are perhaps closer, and faced with enormous challenges to the seminary itself, they need to be stronger than we were. I am grateful beyond measure for their fortitude.

In the candlelight last night, I also noticed the bricks in the chapel. I always notice the bricks. They are a darker crimson than the bricks in Virginia. They aren't warm like Thomas Jefferson's bricks, rather these bricks give off a serious hue that feels more like an abbey, which I suppose, is what they are meant to feel like. CDSP is a seminary, after all, so that should not be too surprising.

I wonder if bricks absorb prayers? The bricks of our chapel have heard many prayers for many decades. They heard  our prayers last night, they heard the prayers of my class, and they heard many prayers for many years before we were here.

The Morning Prayer reading from today in Genesis 28:10-22 has Jacob resting his read on a rock, and as he sleeps he dreams of how heaven and earth are intimately connected, like a ladder, and he is blessed by God in his dream. When he awakes, he pours oil on the rock and names a city for it. He honors the stone where he laid his head. We are connected, to each other, and to the universe around us. The bricks and the stones know it.

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