Friday, October 21, 2011
Second Excerpt from my Stay at Incarnation Monastery, Berkeley, CA
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
The day started out cloudy, and I wasn’t sure whether I’d be forced to fast again since I was not going to walk down the mountain in the heavy rain. But the sun marched through the clouds, and the temperature rose to a comfortable 65 degrees. After some reading, I put on my tennis shoes and walked down the mountain to find something to eat. (Don't know which was worse on my knees & legs, going down or coming back up; both could be painful!). When I reached a level terrain, I stopped at the first restaurant I saw on the opposite side of Shattuck called “Crepevine.” It offered a wonderful selection of healthy foods. I chose the grilled salmon with avocado on wheat bread with a salad and potatoes – very good. After lunch, I decided to venture on toward the University of California at Berkeley, past the Bart train station and almost to Bancroft. My cousin Buddy works at Bancroft and Telegraph. I would meet him for lunch on the coming Friday. Walking back toward the monastery, I decided to sit and drink a café moca at a small coffee shop and mentally prepare myself for the steep, sweaty trek back up the mountain.
...When I got back I changed my sweaty clothes to attended the evening vespers service again at 5 pm. Father A led out this time wearing the green stole over his cream colored robe. It seems the officiating monk for the evening wears the green stole; the monks alternated officiating over the service. But Father T always led the chanting and litany. Perhaps this is because he is the senior monk. I prayed when I entered the sanctuary for God’s Spirit to move upon my heart and in the room. God is always willing to move upon us like God's Spirit moved upon the face of the deep in Genesis, hovering over the waters. God never disappoints in this regard. Several words transformed me in that moment. Father Matthew read, “my soul waits for God in silence.” Wow… every time I thought of it, God’s spirit touched my soul so that it overflowed and tears poured out through the opening of my eyes. Those words touched a place in me, unexpectedly. I had been alone reading the word, silently and aloud, praying, seeking for a word from God. Sometimes it’s all about the silence, not the words of scripture or the melody of a song, but that space in time not manufactured, not fabricated, but just permitted to be. Another word from Father A about the gospel parable of the wheat and the tares also fed my soul that evening. Most interpreters read that parable as a dichotomy between us and them or as a caveat not to become, or to beware lest one become, the tares. Father Andrew noted that the tares and the wheat are found within each of us. Something we need never forget. Powerful!