A Day in Paradise

Yesterday we had a chapel full of guests.  In our small worship space, half a dozen guests make a crowd.  The liturgy … what’s the word… flowed? …shaped itself?  …rose through the roof and got slayed in the Spirit secretly while we were concentrating on the Angelus and then descended into the chapel charged with power?

We sang some of Ana Hernadez’ music. Ana was on a busman’s holiday from “Smokey Mary’s” and sang with us.  www.anahermusic.com. We made a huge brunch of fried Peruvian purple potatoes (from our root cellar), mixed salad greens (fresh from the garden), Swedish oven pancakes baked with just-laid eggs, and our own maple syrup, of course.  We laughed lots, as usual, and a young man played guitar as we washed up the dishes. 

baby ducksCROP We’re entranced by the baby ducklings living up to every visual cliche.  (see links to videos below). The new chickens, now awkward adolescents, have moved outside.  Half  stay here at St. Aidan’s with the black star hens  and the others live in Cluckingham Palace, a new hen house on the far side of Duckville.  On the duckville path, the spicy and sweet scent of white roses climbing up the bower in the Mary Garden above you will stop you in your tracks. But be sure to really STOP.  If you don’t watch your step you might slip on duck poo.

stole1Sister Catherine Grace was on vacation last week.  So she fixed herself behind one of the looms, surrounded by cones of naturally dyed thread. The new loom gently clacking adds a comforting texture to the ambient sounds of the farm.  In no time, Sister wove an Advent/Lent stole, full of prayer, conceived intentionally for worship in our small chapel.  Touch it – how can you not reach for it and hold it and run your fingers down and up the smooth patterned fabric?  For the un-practical and un-technical and un-mathematical and un-puzzle-loving human, weaving seems nothing short of a miracle.  We blessed the new stole during the liturgy.

The Sabbath calls forth a subtle, enhanced dimension of gratitude.  The seventh day was created for gratitude.  Wearing white Sunday clothes helps you resist the temptation to pull scores of weeds as you walk by.  You look out upon the whole of the garden, ignoring the relentless daily tasks close to the soil.  The new life, beauty, music, laughter, gentle sounds, rain on the chapel roof, the scents of herbs and roses and lavender remain as sensual and holy as Saturday or Monday.  But Sunday draws forth a depth that deep practice rewards.  

Forgotten: the Saturday push to get the morning harvest ready for market. Turnip greens tearing at flesh, mud, ticks, swollen bug bites, picking the wrong crop, downpours, a truckload mess of jars and ice chests and extra produce to process, exhaustion, deadlines, family troubles, Lyme disease, back pain, and various soul sicknesses. 

Leonard Cohen says somewhere, “…a scar is what happens when the word is made flesh.”

On Sundays we strive to live in the awareness of Paradise.  The rest of the week we accept with as much humility as possible the scarring and struggles of human life. Comforted by the Word Made Flesh, called to embody Paradise even while the body suffers, we’re cultivating this ground of compassion in our souls to share, both in Sabbath time and Ordinary time.


watch the baby ducklings here


4 Responses to “A Day in Paradise”

  1. Frugal Dougal Says:

    I just wanted to say I thoroughly enjoyed your rendition of “A prayerbook is a girl’s best friend” and my vicar agrees – she’s forwarding it to her friends! I got to it through Bosco Peter’s “Liturgy” blog.

    PS I thought you were better than Marylin!

  2. ammaguthrie Says:

    Better than Marylin? That’s got to be the most outrageous compliment I’ve ever received. Thank you so much.

  3. GarethClive Says:

    I agree with Frugal Dougal. Prayer book devotees at St. John’s Charlestown recommended your rendition. I’m inspired by your sparkle and tempted to learn the lyrics to a “prayer book is a girl’s best friend” in front of the bathroom mirror. Thank you Suzanne!

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