We gathered last night in our dimly lit sanctuary in front of the altar. Seated in a circle with burning candles we played our drums and shakers; sometimes softly, other times loudly. Without words we communicated with one another, speaking in rhythms, attentive to subtle shifts that led us off in new directions. At times certain persons would provide the solid, repetitive beat around which others would revolve and respond with spontaneous rifts. At other times the roles would reverse.Â Moments of grace would be experienced when self-consciousness would altogether disappear; as the Paul Simon lyric describes it so wonderfully, “the brain takes a seat behind the face.” And there was room in the circle for all: contrary to some peoples’ self-assessment, every body has a sense of rhythm, conveyed by the ever-present beat of their heart — the beat of their life. Through it all there was a sense of the presence of the Holy Spirit, knitting us together as one with our creator, with life itself.
When we prayed together at the end, holding hands, the silence seemed deafening.