Monday, May 24, 2010

One Voice and One Heart

Photo Courtesy Photobucket

There we are, holding hands while we sing The Lord's Prayer. Sunday after Sunday. It is the tradition at our church! During the "Our Father", we reach our hands out side to side and join hands with those closest to us until everyone is linked together and, then, we either recite or sing the Lord's Prayer.

Our Father in heaven,
    hallowed be your Name,
    your kingdom come,
    your will be done,
        on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
    as we forgive those
        who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial,
    and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
    and the glory are yours,
    now and for ever. Amen.

This past Sunday was no different. The time comes, we all scramble around to be sure we are all connected, hand-to-hand, in some form or fashion. It's always amazing to me how tricky it is to accomplish this hand-holding feat.

We are finally settled and then we begin - this week we are singing..."Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your Name..." For some reason, this is always about the spot I get choked up. I get locked up in the moment and the tears start to run down my cheeks. I can't force the words past the lump in my throat. I love to listen to the voices of those praying with me while I lift my own in the silence of my heart. It's not the words, so much, that get to me. It is the connection we share, heart to heart, in that moment.

I stand there and I am connected to all of these people that I have grown to love. I hear John singing in his shaky, 90-year old voice. And, I am overcome with the thought of the number of Sundays he has lifted his voice to pray this same prayer.

This past Sunday I found myself holding hands with Joe who is in the process of loving his mother as he is watching her slowly make her transition into God's presence. I can feel the fullness of his heart through his voice and the tight grip of his hand. He sings the words boldly - when his heart must be breaking. Halfway through the prayer, I feel another hand grab hold of mine. I hear this voice softly singing the words.."Save us from the time of trial..." and I recognize the voice of Jeremy, a 14 year old young man, who is dealing with the unexpected death, only a few days before, of his mother. And, I can feel his hands shake along with his voice. At this point, I am totally undone. My heart is full. And, I think about my own full bucket. It seems so trivial compared to those around me. Yes, I have my own things I'm trying to sort out and that I carry with me. However, in that moment, it seems as if the bucket is not quite so heavy because I am surrounded by faith, hope and love. These people help me carry the load. So, I tighten my grip on both of these hands that are holding mine - willing them to know that Love is big.

I am thankful for this tradition and this beautiful gift and this moment. When we are finished, I find myself wanting to hang on to these hands and hearts. I don't want to let go. I understand that the beauty is in the connection and the love we share with each other - through the outpouring of our hearts to one another. And, through the outpouring of our hearts to God.

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