I want to become a stronger swimmer.

A view from our front yard

As a man whose head is under water cannot inhale pure air, so a man whose thoughts are plunged into the cares of this world cannot absorb the sensation of the world to come.

                       ~St. Isaac the Syrian

I’ve definitely had that underwater feeling lately — so I was relieved to take part in a lenten service at church today, one designed to clear the head of transitory concerns. During Communion in the time of Lent, we sing lovely meditative hymns to the words, “O taste and see that the Lord is good.”

Because that world St. Isaac speaks of comes to us in the Eucharist. We breathe the pure and sweet air of the Holy Spirit, a taste of the world to come and tonic to strengthen us for the labors of this world.

Mr. Glad and I have all sorts of busyness on our plates these days, and much of it is of a proper and happy kind, helping and loving people. But there is the other sort, as when one’s computer crashes and requires hours of trouble transporting, repairing, restoring. For me that’s the sensation of drudgery.

There’s the fence that falls down and needs replacing, which means hours of talking to the neighbor and the lumber store, and more hours actually tearing out the old and putting in the new. This kind of work often blends into another: The old bodies of us humans wear out and need more frequent maintenance, trips to the chiropractor or pharmacy.

It’s helpful that the melody of the “taste and see” hymns stick in my mind pretty well, so I can remember and come up for a gulp of that Air of Life, Sweet Jesus. I may not be walking on water, but I’m not drowning.

5 thoughts on “I want to become a stronger swimmer.

  1. These are such TRUE, TRUE words, Gretchen! I agree whole-heartedly with that opening quote. I thoroughly reject the old concept that a person can be so heavenly-minded that he's no earthly good. Phooey! Being heavenly-minded is always, always good.

    When Adam and I come face-to-face with a computer/broken fence/achy body situation, we often say, “Oh, that's the Fall!” And it is. It's a reminder that we're living in a world very different from the one we were designed for. And don't we feel it!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Like Cathy, I love hymns. Since joining the Anglican Church,I am learning new words to old tunes or old words to new tunes. Keeps your mind pretty occupied and “songs in the night” are amazing.
    I love Gregorian chant and the Kyrie, Gloria and Sanctus especially thrill my soul. I am so glad I get to experience the Anglican tradition, as I came from Baptist, Christian Reformed, Presbetyrian and Pentecostal traditions!
    Not that each is not precious, but that my heart is at home within our High Anglican celebration!


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