A Holy Grapes Solo Worship Experience
What a morning!
At 9 am, I had a plan for my solo worship time. I put together a basket of stuff for my journey: the grapes, my rosary, my journal, pen, books for reflection, and my glasses. I grabbed my keys and my wallet, locked my door and put stuff in my car. I realized that I had my car keys, but not my house keys. I trekked to my shed where I have my spare key hidden, back to my house, unlocking the door only to realize my house keys were in my pant’s pocket all along.
I get in my car and I’m heading to a very special garden. I’m so excited, I’m anticipating my time of solitude and reflection on scripture. I’m thinking about what’s on my mind, and what I’m going to meditate on this morning.
I get to the garden, and as I settle my spot, I realize that I left my phone/camera at home. Sigh…All the spirit leaves my heart. I feel defeated. These worship experiences are after all a visual experience as well as written meditations.
I pack it all up and head home, with the mantra “the best laid plans….” playing in my head.
Not wanting to spend the morning driving back and forth, when I get home, I decide I will just do my worship experience in my own, tiny little garden.
God can pour on the blessings in astonishing ways so that you’re ready for anything and everything, more than just ready to do what needs to be done.~2 Corinthians 9:8, The Message Bible
IN GOD’S GARDEN
I show up feeling some distress – and a little bit unfocused. I am able to take some photos, but my brain feels scattered. I feel a little derailed by what I want to accomplish today and what is really happening. It’s hard to switch my mindset, to simply relax, sit and reflect in the morning sun. I’m anxious.
I think my anxiousness is symptomatic of what so many people all over are feeling. I’ve been in contact with a lot of people this week. Some are really struggling with the isolation. Others are not sleeping well (including myself). People I know are struggling with illness and ailments not related to the virus. There was a death in my family a couple days ago -a beloved cousin of my mom’s- from cancer. I am not able to go over to my mom’s and simply sit with her or give her a hug.
Life has been derailed and for many of us this time is really hard and difficult. Some of my friends have no income right now. People are scared, some are lonely, some feel lost. We show up and try to be positive for one another, but we know everyone is struggling. We’ve all lost something. It’s only been a few weeks, but it feels like a life time ago since the quarantine began.
We know we are still riding the storm. We don’t know when the end will be in sight. Some have said to me this week “There will never be an end.” I’ve heard a lot of despair this week. I want to help, but feel the helplessness myself.
We all are turning toward one another looking for hope. And many of us are turning to scripture and God, searching for those astonishing blessings that we can’t see right now.
“Finding Hope and Joy”
A response, excerpted from The Book of Joy, Lasing Happiness in a Changing World, conversations with his Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu
“We are fragile creatures, and it is from this weakness, not despite it, that we discover the possibility of true joy,” the Archbishop said…”Life is filled with challenges and adversity…fear is inevitable, as is pain and eventually death…”
“Discovering more joy does not, I’m sorry to say, save us from the inevitability of hardship and heartbreak. In fact, we may cry more easily, but we will laugh more easily, too. Perhaps we are just more alive. Yet as we discover more joy, we can face suffering in a way that ennobles rather than embitters. We have hardship without becoming hard. We have heartbreak without being broken.”~Archbishop Desmond Tutu
Oh Heavenly God, prayers are so many this week. In our heartache, we don’t even know where to begin. Please God, hear our prayers:
For friends and loved ones with cancer, heart issues, and other afflictions, oh God, hear our prayer.
For those experiencing loss, and for those unable to help them through the grief, oh God, hear our prayers.
For the restlessness of our children, who feel the stress and anxiety we all feel, oh God, hear our prayers.
And let us remember and continue the prayers for:
- those within our communities facing surgeries and new diagnoses requiring medical treatments,
- the children still separated from their parents at our borders,
- our brothers and sisters experiencing incarceration, in need of medical attention and supplies,
- new parents and new babies being born right now,
- all those out of work, rethinking vocation and careers during these days,
- the first responders, doctors, nurses, paramedics, working tirelessly on the front lines,
- our religious and spiritual leaders and pastors, working to meet the spiritual needs of the congregation,
- those struggling with mental health issues.
Oh God, hear our prayers. Be with us these days, as we search for blessing and hope. Walk with us, for it’s not easy. Guide us, for our minds are muddled, afraid, and unfocused. Help us navigate the fears we have and the changes we undergo. Help us to embrace one another spiritually in love, as we cannot embrace one another physically. Be with us as we continue to live humbly, seeking your justice and mercy during these most challenging times.
In the name of Jesus – who chose to be born and live amidst us, to love us and to die for us – for these things and more we pray.
COMMUNION and HOLY GRAPES
I have no wine or bread. All I have are these grapes. They haven’t been blessed by the pastors, or prayed over before communion. I cannot consecrate the grapes myself, but I am in God’s Garden, and all that is here, including the grapes, are holy.
I think about my beloved family and friends. I miss my pastors and my church, and the love that come with the practice of communion together. . May God’s blessings begin to illumine our hearts, cutting through the despair, and filling us with the hope we need to persevere.
A note: Holy Grapes, a solo worship service will continue throughout this quarantine period, rain or shine, in God’s Garden wherever that may be. If you live in the Chapel Hill/Durham area, and want me to show case your own garden during my weekly worship time, please message me. With peace and love…