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Friday, April 17, 2009

Friday in Easter: Early Morning Exultet

Despite the dictates of our human and liturgical calendars, there is something about the light this time of year.

When I woke up this morning, I headed to the kitchen, pushing valiantly through the usual early morning cob webs in my head, to flip the switch on the coffee machine when something caught my eye.

Suddenly, everything faded away from my sight and I was absolutely and completely entranced by the sunlight dancing on the water just outside my kitchen window.

A hundred, thousand little points of light bobbed and weaved on the tops of the ripples of the early morning current. You could almost hear their laughter.

I practically ran to out to the deck, my feet moving not nearly as fast as the rest of my body demanded, dressed only in my near-nakedness despite the early morning chill, to get a better seat at the stage of Mother Nature's performance.

There . . .there . . .the entire of Rehoboth Bay stretch out before me, absolutely aglow with the joy of Spring Light.

The water sparkled and shone and danced with such unbridled passion that I could feel my pulse quicken. Amazingly, for my state of undress, I was not at all cold.

I was suddenly aware of the increasing rapidness of my breathing and the quickening of my heart beating in my chest, as if my entire body was trying to be in sync with the rushing pulse of the water and the light.

Then, I found myself weeping softly, startled to that recognition by the sudden taste of the saltiness of a tear that found its way to the corner of my mouth.

It was one of those moments, one of those sparkling moments of brilliant, near-naked, blinding clarity that it felt good to be alive.

Good to feel in sync with the Earth and one with God.

Good to be human.

Good to be fully alive.

At that moment, I heard the voice of God say, "It is good."

And I knew in the wildness of the youthful heart that beats in this aging, cracked pot of a body that it is, indeed, good.

It is all good.

Almost as suddenly, I had this thought, which found itself in a place where the dancing light had settled in a corner of my brain:

This, this is baptism - when the Light of Christ transforms the water so that we might be transformed and changed and never again be the same.

In that moment, I heard myself chanting the ancient words of The Exultet, which I did in its entirety and completely from memory.

"Rejoice and sing now, all the round earth, bright with a glorious splendor, for darkness has been vanquished by our eternal King."

When I finished, I heard the gulls chant the words of God over my joyful sobs.

"It is good," they said, as they laughed their gull laughs and flapped their wings against the wind.

There can be no denying that there is great darkness in the world - grinding poverty and debilitating illness, political corruption and unfettered greed, blind prejudice and blinding oppression, stunning betrayal and heartbreaking loss and grief.

But sometimes, sometimes in moments like these, there is an awareness that there is enough beauty in the world to drive a person mad.

Mad enough to chant an early morning love song in near nakedness before God, which no human ear could hear and no human eye could see, but which was, nonetheless joined in celebration by the creatures of the earth.

My calendar says that today is the seventeenth day of April. My liturgical calendar reminds me that today is Friday in Easter in Western Christendom.

Today is also Good Friday for Orthodox Christians around the world.

There is a wonderful juxtaposition of and incongruity in these two liturgical realities which found congruence in that early morning moment on my deck on Rehoboth Bay in Delaware.

It is good to be fully human.

It is good to be fully alive.

No matter if it is Easter Friday or Good Friday, it is in such moments, unfettered by the constraints of human, linear time, when we experience what it is to be fully human and fully alive that we know the glory of God in Christ Jesus, who was fully human and fully divine.

Sing with me, church.

All you who stand near this marvelous and holy flame,
pray with me to God the Almighty
for the grace to sing the worthy praise of this great light;
through Jesus Christ his Son our Lord,
who lives and reigns with God,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.



suzanne said...

Isn't it amazing when the unexpected just bowls you over in excitment?

It's the WOW factor!

Riley said...

Simply breathtaking! Love the light, reflection and mood you have captured here. Nature offers up some splendid gifts sometimes, doesn't she?

You have a gift, Elizabeth....the amazing ability to share a story in a way that makes the reader feel like they are experiencing it themselves. Thanks for sharing.

David said...

Another powerful post Elizabeth.
Thank-you for sharing it.

Our tiny house is opposite the raised wall of the aquaduct, and many an very early morning, when Willie the daschund and I go for our walk along the top of the wall we're literally stopped in our tracks, and have to sit downto be enfolded in the goodness which is being unwrapped or awoken as the sun crests the horizon. The play of light on the water, the birds waking, everthing green, greener than green as the dew dries in the first rays of the day. And I sit there, barely breathing, Willie wrapped around my feed, and offer thanks.

Exultet indeed.

Thanks again Elizabeth