Be Thou My Vision

Today I saw some funny bumper stickers on CafePress while trying to find some quick turnaround products for an event SRLA is hosting next Monday. One said “Another Republican? Are You Insane?” The other one said, “At least the war on the middle class is going well.” Yes, gallows humor may be terrible, but I’ll take what I can get at this point.

How about this one…”Jesus didn’t ride an Elephant”.

Thank you great unwashed masses. You made my day.

Tonight is officially my first night alone in the house. I am still at school typing away, for some reason nervous about going home. Tucker barked a dozen times last night even though my boyfriend was staying the weekend so I wasn’t in the house alone. But now I will be. I imagine I will sleep poorly tonight. Tucker’ll be even jumpier. My SRLA co-president Patricia was kind enough to join me for dinner at Metro to ease my separation anxiety and we had a nice talk. It was packed out there and the service was haphazard. They did their best, but the wait was long, they were out of my tea, not enough staff on, no rolls, pot du creme served chilled. Sigh. More stress not less. I wish I had gone to Abuelos instead.

Well, I need a little break from Metro. I have been there too much lately. Yesterday I accompanied my mother and boyfriend there for brunch after the 11 a.m. service. I had the Eggs Benedict sans tomato. The Hollandise sauce was to die for. Yummy. I will definitely come back for that. My boyfriend had the French Toast with vanilla maple syrup and pecans and he thought it was delicious. My mother had a lunch wrap and enjoyed it as well, though she thought the fries were a trifle salty. I like them that way. She had the strawberry bread pudding for dessert and said it was surprisingly well done. Thumbs up for brunch.

On Friday I actually had my monthly spiritual direction session with the Reverend Lisa Graves there over lunch. She’d never been so I enjoyed sharing it with her. She tried the Emma pies, little popovers filled with ham and Gruyere. I was a little leery after my last attempt with them so I had the steak fritte with fries. Rare. Quite a reasonable price for steak and very satisfying. Our conversation was even more so. I shared some of my poetry work from this semester with her and was happy to get her feedback. Especially on the one religious poem I had attempted for class. Meeting with her is truly a highpoint in my month, a centering place where I can bring the strands of the narrative I am reading in my own life and share it with someone who speaks the subtle language of duality. The world of the flesh and the world of the spirit and how they interweave to reveal God’s will in our lives. How we pray, how we listen, how we have those moments of epiphany and of loss. She and all those who are walking on this path with me are a great gift in my life and I thank God for them nightly.

As I read through the New Zealand Book of Common Prayer while working on the liturgy for the Goth Eucharist I am planning for October 22 here at Hollins, I came across that lovely hymn Be Thou My Vision. We’ve been singing a particularly beautiful version of it at the Gathering every Sunday evening. It’s set to a traditional Irish lullaby at that service. It soothes my heart and recalls the word that I was left with yesterday in prayer…Abide.

Be thou my vision, O Christ of my heart,
Be all else but naught to me save that thou art,
Be thou my best thought in the day and the night.
Both waking and sleeping, thy presence my light.

Riches I heed not, nor folk’s empty praise,
Be thou my inheritance now and always,
Be thou and thou only the first in my heart,
O Sovereign of heaven, my treasure thou art.

The idea of attempting to have a Goth Eucharist on campus at Hollins in our Meditation Chapel is one that is very appealing to me. It’s a small space, very intimate and it will be at the time of the afternoon when the light begins to dim. There will be many candles, incense, unusual music. My Student Chaplaincy project for the semester was to learn about something that could be relevant to the community at Hollins and to my own educational goals and to then share that knowledge with the campus. This particular liturgy was created by a priest in the Anglican church in England who considers himself a “Goth” and is designed to address the feelings that those in his community had of being outcast and reviled. Those who feel misunderstood and deeply hurt or rejected. Especially those that were young and had rejected the church. One t-shirt advertised the Eucharist on the front with the words: “If the world hates you…” and on back “remember it hated me first” from John 15:18

My own desire is to demonstrate how ancient elements of liturgy can be used to elementally connect those suffering or adrift to the spirit of the Word and Light of God. To revive the traditions and rites that help us enter into Sacrament and become fully immersed into Communion with the Holy.

I don’t believe a Goth Eucharist has been attempted in the US, but my hope is that the experience will be transformative in some way for those who attend. If nothing else, allowing them to explore a new way to meet the liturgy.

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