I am not sure whether our visitor was on drugs, or if he was mentally ill, but something wasn't quite right with the young man who found his way to our Lectio Divina group this morning. He looked a lot like my friends from high school did. He was dressed in a kind of artsy way, with black leather pants, a pair of combat boots held together with duct tape, a purple plaid skirt and a green baseball shirt. And black knit hat with the top cut off. It wasn't the clothes that led me to believe that something was off with him. It was that he would laugh at totally inappropriate moments, almost continuously, like it was a tick, or like something was going on inside his head that the rest of us weren't privy to.
We were reading about John the Baptist, preparing the way for the Lord. (A passage I can never read without hearing the score to the Messiah in my head.) Our guest laughed while we read, one after another, and while we shared our feelings about the passage and what we thought God was telling us through it. He laughed when he read, when he shared, and when he listened. His prayer for his neighbor was so disjointed I found myself praying silently for her, because I know she needs it.
Later, in the nave, he was asleep in the last pew during the service.
He is in my prayers this week.
Behind the altar, on the East wall, there is a huge stained glass window of the crucifixion. It is divided into many panels, some with angels, some with onlookers gazing up at Christ on the cross. Above the scene, God hovers above, looking down at all that is happening.
This morning was a spectacularly clear day. In the winter light the sun is at a different angle than it is at any other time of the year, so the window was in deep shadow, save for a brilliant ray of light illuminating the panel of God. Christ was in darkness, along with all mourners and soldiers and townspeople and angels.
But as the service wore on, the sun was rising, and little by little, the images on the window came to life. First Christ. Then the Angels. And finally, the people below.
In that order.