Saturday, November 18, 2006
So... I was received into the Worldwide Anglican Communion on Sunday (that's the Episcopalian Church, for those playing along at home). My mother came up to visit, and we--by which I mean my mother--bought this dress and this sweater. Normally I'm not a dressy kind of girl, but I wanted this to be special. I may wear jeans and corduroys 99.9% of the time, but for momentous occasions you can't beat a skirt.
The service was beautiful, with a bishop and a deacon and songs by the choir and...and...so much singing and music and laughter that I had to choke back tears several times. Especially at the Eucharist, that most emotion-laden of events; the whole reason we say Sunday Mass in the first place. I love everyone at my church so, so much (Durkheim was right, it seems). During communion we sang this song, to the accompaniment of the shruti box (a droning Indian instrument that I associate with the musical nuns who come and visit our church every so often, and whose convent I have been lucky enough to visit twice. They offer music as a form of prayer; it's intensely powerful). I swear, the doors between heaven and earth were thrown wide open then and there, sunbeams through the clouds and all. Here are the lyrics (of course) to part of the song, which is sung to an old French church melody that is at once spare and elegant. Adore devote is the Latin name for it, I believe. What moved us centuries ago has the power to move us still. Human beings across time and space, even vast stretches of it, aren't so very different. (Cliche'd, I know, but also true).
Humbly I adore thee, Verity unseen,
who thy glory hidest 'neath these shadows mean;
low, to thee surrendered, my whole heart is bowed,
tranced as it beholds thee, shrined within the cloud.
Taste and touch and vision to discern thee fail;
faith, that comes by hearing, pierces through the veil.
I believe whate're the Son of God hath told;
what the Truth hath spoken, that for truth I hold.