Friday, June 22, 2012

Into the Outdoors

Going on an all-afternoon excursion tomorrow to Wilson Lake at Wilson State Park with the brothers. This ought to be a nice change of pace. Until now, I've never lived more than a few miles from an ocean, bay, lake, or river. I have seen none of these since leaving New York on May 27. Although the big blue sky of Kansas has been a wonderful consolation, it is no substitute for the bright blue shimmer of living water. It will be good for the brothers to reconnect with this element. There will be boating, inner tubing, and swimming, and the like. The more athletically inclined among us will try their hand at water skiing! As for me, give me a perch near the lake; sunscreen and insect repellent; and a good book, and I will be content.

We will be recreating with a group of gentlemen who call themselves Marked Men for Christ and operate an ecumenical, nondenominational Christian men's ministry. Thanks to their hospitality, there will be burgers and brauts (in New York we call them sausages) ... and, I hope, something to grill for those of us who are neither alpha males nor insatiable carnivores!

Sunday will be a normal day, with optional morning prayer, Eucharist at the parish of our choice, and personal time until evening prayer and dinner. We have been holding a social in the friary courtyard just after evening prayer and before dinner, and we will continue in that custom. In addition, for this Sunday, we will recite night prayer outdoors instead of in the chapel. It will be an appropriate coda for our weekend in nature. It may also spur us to pray compline more mindfully. In my years of experience worshipping on Boston Common at Ecclesia Ministries, I have found that everything around you sharpens the spirit of prayer and devotion, if you invite it. Yes, not only the birds of the air and the brisk whispers of the trees, but also the visages of chattering passers-by, the roar and rumble of motorists, and even the din of heavy construction. I hope that in the cooling evening, in the presence of God's creation, which never ceases to sing the divine praises in its very depth of being, we too will join our voices more intentionally with our spirits so that we express the holy words of prayer with full consciousness of what we are doing.

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