God speaks in the silence...
Yesterday, as we were filming the Easter Vigil mass for our live stream, a suspected tornado rolled through the area and knocked out the power at the parish just as my pastor was in the middle of the Eucharistic Prayer. It startled the 6 of us that were there serving at this mass, but what happened next was beautiful. In the absolute silence, with no white noise from the sound system, or air conditioners, my Pastor found his place in the Missal and continued praying the prayers. Our parochial vicar thoughtfully reached over and removed one of our altar candles and pulled it close to the altar top so that my pastor could continue saying the mass. Storms continued raging outside as an overwhelming peace and stillness was unfolding inside. I watched over the top of the piano as these two amazing priests worked together and helped one another so that the Blessed Sacrament would be consecrated, and the mass would be complete. We spoke the remaining responses, and very simply and gently finished the mass as the storms subsided outside.
I needed this moment. My heart ached for this moment. This peace and stillness, happening in darkness, surrounded by the glorious sounds of a spring storm, was idyllic and perfect. I didn't photograph the mass out of respect, but I did catch these images after. It was beautiful.
As we have been getting private masses recorded for our streaming service, there has been an urgency in that work. There has been a tempo that is faster than I am acclimated to for liturgy. Music has been minimalistic. A chorus to open, a line or two sung at communion. Vastly different than our weekend or normal weekday celebrations. It has been a blessing to be part of the process of recording masses, and at the same time I've been somewhat unsettled because of its brevity.
In the book of Kings, we hear a story of Elijah taking shelter in a cave at Horeb. There was a wind strong enough to break rocks, an earthquake, and a fire. The Lord was passing by, but spoke to Elijah in a whisper.
As I write this, my neighbors are racing to grocery stores and pharmacies (I'll soon be joining them for provisions). Governor of Georgia, Brian Kemp, just issued a "shelter in place" order for citizens of this state. Three weeks ago, our Administrative Bishop decreed that masses are cancelled through April 19th (Divine Mercy Sunday), 2020.
There is a great deal of chaos, fear, uncertainty and doubt circulating in a storm around us right now. The Lord is certainly passing by. Lets find the time, even if just a moment, to listen for Him in a whisper. Quiet your hearts dear friends, and let the Prince of Peace speak light and life to you right now.