Sunday, September 28, 2008

Make Me An Instrument of Your Peace

I really didn't want to go to this Interfaith Prayer Vigil tonight. While I'm absolutely down with the cause, I'm not so much a church kind of girl. I kept questioning why I had to go and dreaming up different scenarios that would provide me an out.

Within the 30 minutes prior to me leaving to get to the service my bad attitude took over completely and I was a total jerk to my favorite person, taking out my frustration about having to go and the death penalty in general on him. It was after 1am where he was and he was bewildered yet patient with my rage. He has always handled my wild mood swings that mirror execution schedules better than anyone else.

It was strange that my outlook fell so far so fast; this weekend has been a good one for me. I have been more active and taking care of things in my life this weekend than any since my favorite person departed across the ocean and sand. I actually got some important life details in order and I was proud of myself for continuing to stay motivated and not succumbing to the couch and bad TV.

I drove the church feeling guilty for being shitty to someone I love and still dreading the doors I was about to enter. I plotted how I would sit in the back and leave before it was over.

But when I got there I was immediately greeted by women who I love and respect dearly and beyond them was a beautiful, age and ethnically diverse community. I sought out Mary Sinclair and sat down with her, our mini-SCHR contingent. The minute Rev. McDonald started talking I felt the weight lift from my shoulders and I immediately reached for my phone to text my sheepish apology to the one faraway who I had just mistreated.

There is something about being in churches that makes me let go a bit. It doesn't always happen, but when it does it's unmistakable and familiar. I remember sitting in a church at Berry College - it was after midnight and I was miserable and pacing the grounds and saw a window partially open. I pried it wider and squeezed through into the dark, empty chapel. I sat alone in a pew and cried, then shimmied back out the window feeling so much better.

Today it was a couple pieces that got to me. Denise and Etsumi, two Buddhist monks that I've known since my first days in Atlanta chanted - their drumming and throaty calls were like a cool compress. But it was when Rev. Morgan led us in the Prayer of St. Francis that my head fell to my chest and the tears started flowing.

I cried for Troy, for Martina and all their family. I cried for the family of the slain officer who want justice and healing so badly. I cried for Mary Sinclair next to me and the loss of her dear Lewis. I cried for my own foolishness, self-centeredness and inadequacies. I prayed with my friends, for the first time in a long time:

Lord, make us instruments of your peace;
where there is hatred, let us sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that we may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.


iurodivii said...

St. Francis was iurodivii and in fact I followed his steps into the church (and then back outside) taking his name when the Bishop touched my head. St. Francis' prayer is a devotion to the kindest traits in humanity.
Just damn that yin-yang idea for requiring the shallow venom to prepare the way for the deep relief.
Gasoline is not infinite, a touch to the heart is.

Reem Tara said...

This is beautiful and I'm all teary eyed. Churches do it to me between out moments of hilarity on christmas, I sometimes have a tough time keeping it fully together. I'm glad you went. xxoo

Unknown said...

i LOVE that prayer. used to chant it on my beads. over and over. it's so sweet. st. francis is really under-rated amoungst our age and class of do-gooders.

Nina Rubin said...

Sara...Rabbi Peter Berg, the new senior rabbi at The Temple, gave his Yom Kippur sermon supporting Troy Davis. You can find an audio link on their website: