Friday, October 19, 2007

I will make my dwelling among you

Almighty and everlasting God, grant to this home the grace of your presence, that you may be known to be the inhabitant of this dwelling, and the defender of this household; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
One of the priests at my church came to my little green cloister to conduct a houseblessing service yesterday. I think any hope that I might return to my old Gnosticism is just about shattered; the Incarnation seems to become more compelling to me every day. The Almighty God who wore the flesh of the man Jesus dwells, in a way that is mysterious but is no less real, in a one-room cottage with me. Just as we believe that God is somehow present in the physical objects of bread and wine, we have asked his presence in my home.

Brother Lawrence once prayed,
Lord of all pots and pans and things…
Make me a saint by getting meals
And washing up the plates!
I pray that here. I pray that I may live constantly aware that the physical aspects of my life are the spiritual, that God is present in the most gritty, tangible parts of my existence. May that presence make them holy; may I wake up tomorrow on a holy couch and put holy tea on the stove. His presence has been invited in this house; may he fill it.

He has been invited even, as it turns out, in the bathroom. The bathroom of this characteristically masochistic enemy of maintenance has been blessed with these words:
O holy God, in the incarnation of your Son our Lord you made our flesh the instrument of your self-revelation: Give us a proper respect and reverence for our mortal bodies, keeping them clean and fair, whole and sound; that, glorifying you in them, we may confidently await our being clothed upon with spiritual bodies, when that which is mortal is transformed by life, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Amen. Come Lord Jesus!

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