Monday, June 22, 2009

Basic language

I’ve been stuck on the soundtrack for Godspell for a little over a week now so it makes sense that a song from it is what came to mind during the 10:30 homily this past Sunday. The Gospel had the sea-tossed disciples asking a sleepy Jesus “Do you not care that we are perishing?” Peter was presiding and invited people to imagine ourselves back into the midst of a storm we had experienced at some point in our life. “Taste the fear,” he prompted.

I had no problem with that. During my tenure in southern Louisiana, a low level hurricane by the name of Lily swept through Grand Coteau and put a tree through our roof. I remember watching branches on the trees by the chapel bow down to the ground on one side and seconds later, with incomprehensibly yogic flexibility, flip up and over to touch the roots on the other side as well. I was watching this from the threshold of the kitchen door until I heard the snap of the pecan tree just beyond the steps and then the cracking and creaking of its trajectory before ultimately crunching onto and through the tin roof of the Cottage.

While sitting there in the gym reflecting on this experience and the aftermath of it when nature went berserk with new life of all types—think Genesis—I heard strains of “Save the People” from Godspell wafting through the memory.

“O, God save the people,
Save the people,
God save the people,
From despair.
God save the people!”

A request of a similar sort to the question posed by those gathered in the boat. A much more raw plea was my mantra at the time. Things do get basic in situations like that. And assurances we once counted on all go overboard.

It seems to me that the answer we seek is fairly basic too… A question I found myself considering was whether as easily as the plea came to my mind in the midst of the hurricane, was I as ready to accept the answer I faith-fully believed would come? Regardless of what that looked like? ”Do you not care??” “I do care.” “Save the people!” “I will.”

There’s no predicting the sea. No predicting the wind. No predicting God either.

Except, the water’s wet and salty; the wind blows things; and God is love.

Basic is good sometimes.

2 comments:

Donald said...

"Things do get basic in situations like that. And assurances we once counted on all go overboard."

You have captured the wild wake-up call we receive at such times. The challenge is to stay awake -- or to decide how much we want to.

Great writing, friend.

MperiodPress said...

Thank you, dear sir.

And interesting about "or to decide how much we want to." Sometimes I wonder if the body, in its graciousness, decides for us, depending on the situation?