There is a place which is beyond understanding, a place of the first drop of rain on drought parched soil and of sunlight bringing green growth to the tips of the pine needles on the only tree left standing in a clearing devastated by fire. It is the return after a long absence, the blessed silence after fireworks, a plate of food and a warm bath after being out in the storm.
It is a place that springs not from joy but from silence. First the devastation comes, then the healing. Or first the devastation comes and then it’s echo, which dies slowly away over time.
This place is a tiny candle in the darkness – sometimes not even a candle, only a heartbeat – sometimes not even a heartbeat, only that which lies inside. Between the exhale and the inhale, at the moment of dawn or of dusk, at the moment of death – maybe also of birth – it wells up.
It comes softly. To the yearning heart, it comes softly.
They call it God’s peace, and it is sometimes a fullness and sometimes very empty, for it is not a feeling at all but rather a knowing. It is participation.
Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. Give thanks in all circumstances, even when you are in pain. Even when you grieve, even when you are afraid, give thanks. For into the midst of such activity, suddenly, God’s peace falls. Suddenly something joins you and you are not alone.
Do not quench the Spirit. It is the Spirit’s desire to pray. It is the Spirit’s desire, always, to pray.
There is a place which is beyond understanding, a place where the wheels of the trucks hit the puddles in a pewter spray and everything you were thinking or planning suddenly disappears – as though it had never been – as though it didn’t even matter. And this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. This is the will of the Incarnate God for you: a free gift. God’s peace.
Have a holy and blessed Thanksgiving.
Laurie Gudim is a religious iconographer and liturgical artist, a writer and lay preacher living in Fort Collins, CO. See her work online at Everyday Mysteries With others she manages a website for the Diocese of Colorado highlighting congregations’ creative ministries: Fresh Expressions Colorado