The moment when darkness recedes from the morning and the sky blossoms crimson, orange and cream, the world seems to take a deep breath. I do, too. Poised on the edge of all the possible beginnings for this day, my spirit reaches for Ruach, the Wind that feeds it, as my lungs reach for air.
This is a kind of pinnacle experience, even though it’s in the city, in the flats. It feels like those moments from my youth, hiking in the Wyoming mountains, high among granite peaks, when I was utterly alone. The world is achingly beautiful. Standing here I reach for my connection with God.
So the line from today’s story of Jesus feeding the five thousand that leapt off the page was the one at the very end: “After saying farewell to them, he went up on the mountain to pray.”
He goes up on the mountain to pray. He and his disciples have just accomplished the impossible: feeding five thousand men and countless women and children in the middle of a wilderness. They had come out to this normally deserted place to get away from the constant demands made on them at home. But like movie stars, they had been spotted and followed. Now, after teaching all day and feeding everyone, Jesus is done. He has sent his disciples off. After dismissing the crowd as well, he is alone.
How did Jesus, who was God squeezed into a human body, pray? When the disciples asked him how to do it he gave them a very simple practice – the Lord’s prayer.
I like to think that the way he prayed was just to reach out, in his heart, for a connection that was always there. I imagine he just opened his awareness and gave his union with God his full attention. I imagine a wide view across the Galilean lake, the world so quiet he could hear the call of a hawk no larger than a speck in the sky. I imagine a little wind lifting his hair. “Abba,” he would have said. And then I imagine he was silent, listening, letting Ruach stir his heart. I also imagine that in that moment he gloried in being human.
Each of us belongs so completely to God that all we have to do to find God is turn our attention there. Every moment is replete with the Beloved. God, God’s self will teach us how best to be in communion with God, how God wants us to pray. For each of us it’s a little different, I think. It’s a relationship thing.
For starters, though, we can open our eyes to beauty. And we can open our souls to the Wind.
Image: Fort Collins sunrise by Laurie Gudim