From The Rector

A few months ago, after visiting someone in the hospital in downtown Chicago, I walked over to St. James Cathedral, the "mother church" of our Diocese of Chicago. I have been to St. James dozens of times in my life for one reason or another, but virtually every visit has been for a formal or official event such as a Diocesan liturgy or a clergy gathering. As a result, I have not spent a lot of time in the Cathedral just sitting and praying and looking around. And so, with a bit of time on my hands that morning, I dropped in for a look and a prayer.

It is, of course, a large, dramatic, slightly outrageous Victorian sacred space full of gold leaf and ornate embosses and elaborate late 19th century stenciling and, in general, a veritable Spring Break of visual stimulation. But what caught my attention more than the space itself was the variety of people also present to look around or kneel for a prayer or simply sit in silence. It was not a large crowd, by any means, but it was eclectic. Several pews in front of me was an elderly Episcopal nun in full habit saying her prayers, as she clearly has for many decades. Over my right shoulder on his knees was the middle aged Latino man whose uniform told me that he was the owner of the work truck that was parked near my car. Constantly on the move was the Cathedral volunteer straightening booklets in the pews. A pair of African American women, who spoke in a wonderfully exaggerated stage whisper, were near the tract rack in the narthex. The tourist in a sari, Eyewitness Guidebook in hand, walked around slowly as her husband stood in the center, staring at the ceiling. A young woman, hugging herself against the chilly winter air, crossed herself with water from the large baptismal font near the west entrance. And halfway back, near the center aisle, an Episcopal priest, having finished praying, secretly and delightedly took all this, and more, in.

It was a distinctly Easter moment for me this year. Different kinds of people drawn for different reasons down different roads to the same place at the same time. Diverse lives impelled and compelled and propelled to seek God, or a sense of God's presence and transforming peace. People hoping, and maybe even assuming, that they would get a whisper, or an echo, or a soft puff of holy breath across the neck from the Holy Spirit. Sundry people united in their desire to find the God who has already found them. Normal, everyday people reconnecting to God in the midst of a normal, everyday morning.

We have just begun the Great 50 Days of Easter, the seven week period that stretches from the celebration of the Resurrection to the celebration of our parish feast day on Pentecost. Take the remainder of this season to listen for God's heartbeat merging with yours; to filter out the distractions of the world; to celebrate the unity within our diversity; to be ready for that soft puff of holy breath. Find, once again, the God who has found you, and who will not let you go, and who has done so much-so very, very much-to make us joyous, and new, and one.