Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Vespers: Guest post from Penelope J. Stokes

I read this on Penelope's blog and enjoyed it so much, I asked her if I could repost it here. Enjoy!

Seven Sacred Pauses 6: Vespers

 
Sixth Hour: Vespers
Vespers.
Evening.
The liminal time when daylight fades into darkness.

Those transitional moments—the turning of day to night, the changing of seasons, the thresholds and passages that mark significant shifts in our lives—are often perceived as “thin places” in the fabric of the universe, opportunities to catch a glimpse of the world beyond the veil.

Celtic spirituality holds that the universe is full of thin places, specific geographical locations where we can sense more intensely the presence of the divine, and the world beyond our own. I don’t doubt that such places exist. One such place, for me, was the standing stones at Avebury, England, when I visited with my family many years ago. Unlike Stonehenge, Avebury Henge is accessible to visitors, and as I walked among the stones and stood with the grazing sheep in the early light of morning, I felt a sense of connection with God and the universe that shook me to my core.

I’m a believer in thin places.

But even more important than particular geographical locations are the thin places in our own souls. The times and circumstances when we draw near to holiness, and are most susceptible to spiritual transformation. Those fleeting moments when we feel as if we can almost. . .almost. . .reach out and touch the feathered edges of Divinity.

It’s Mystery. It’s Miracle. I can’t explain it. I can’t tell you why it happens, or how, or when. I only know that my part is to stay awake, keep my eyes open, and be still. And then, sometimes when I least expect it, the awareness of God lights upon me like a small bird upon a branch.

Quietly. Very quietly.

And I am changed.
Vespers: Evening
Now is the thin time,
the sunset hour
when from the edges of my vision
I see a shimmering truth,
half-formed,
half-understood,
translucent, real,
though just beyond my reach.
Now my soul halts
on the farther threshold of the day
and waits to be shown
a glimpse of the world beyond.
Here is the only wisdom
I have been given:
that day turns to night
and night to day;
that every new adventure
is richer than what came before;
that forgiveness is gift,
and love is gift,
and all gifts must be held,
like a fragile bird,
with an open hand.

©2012 Penelope J. Stokes
All rights reserved

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