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November 21, 2011

Sunday Spirituality

by Brendan

I don’t run on Sunday, haven’t for years except for the extremely occasional Sunday race.  It’s best for me to have a day off from running, so I resist it when the Dead Runners Society initiates yet another 100-day challenge (run at least 2 miles for 100 consecutive days).  After all these years, I think I know what’s best for my body (and maybe even for my mind).

So yesterday, it being Sunday and the traditional day of doing so in our culture, I practiced spirituality.  First,  I raced out of the house at 0-dark-30.  OK, actually it was 9:00 a.m.  when I went to the wonderful Sunday morning Bible study at Holy Trinity Episcopal.  My friends Lanier and Kathy lead the study, during which we focus on the four Scripture readings that will be used in church service, starting at 10:30.  Generally the four readings have a thread, and yesterday’s was the idea of a shepherd taking care of sheep.  Ancient Israel, of course, was a herding culture, so parables about sheep would take root and have currency.  And in 1st-century Palestine, of course, the herding culture continued.

Then, after church service (which went very well, I thought — our organist\music director toned down his overplaying a bit, a welcome event).  We also had a guest preacher who was spectacular in a very quiet way — his subject was Ordinary Time (which the Episcopal\Anglican & Roman Catholic churches use to refer to the time between Pentecost and the beginning of Advent).  He limned the theme of how ordinary people can do extraordinary things in Ordinary Time.  During his sermon, I started to think about why it was working so well, since he wasn’t pounding home his points with volume, etc.  I realized he was speaking quietly yet very clearly, the effect of which was to make us all lean forward and listen.  And his content was excellent, his words eloquent.  I told him so afterward and thanked him.

Then a different kind of spiritual practice.  I went kayaking on the Santa Fe River in the afternoon, all alone, and I mean all alone since I didn’t see a soul on the river (or a body either).  Very quiet, saw no alligators (mighta just missed them — they blend in so well).  Quite a few birds and turtles — even saw a short bird fight over territory.  As usual with fights between animals in the wild, no damage seemed to be done to either combatant, just lotsa wing flapping and squawking, and then one bird flew away.

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