We arrived home earlier in the week to a shipment of my second novel,Offerings! Hooray! I opened a box and pulled out a copy and held it in my hands. Published! Soon we will update the website with cover, press release, excerpt.
I gave thanks to God today for this blessing, this third Sunday after Easter, Easter III, that my little book was in print. And thanks too for a safe trip home. My groggy mind, still jetlagged, was filled with images of Rome’s churches – domes, frescoed apses, vaulted holy space. London too, added to the wealth of image and song, for we visited Farm Street Church last Sunday, a Victorian Gothic church in Mayfair run by the Jesuits. Stained glass, mosaics, Latin liturgy soaring through the aisles, a packed church. A famous church – Edith Sitwell, Evelyn Waugh, many others called it home.
And today I looked about our little church in San Francisco on Sacramento Street, a lovely Romanesque chapel with a simple stone altar, a sweet Madonna in the Gospel corner, a green tiled floor, large bouquets of flowers celebrating the Resurrection of Christ – pinks, oranges, yellows, greens all jostling together. The choir sang gloriously, and our priest preached on the example each of us sets as we go about our lives. We are strangers and pilgrims in this world, Saint Paul explains in his epistle, and folks will judge our faith by our actions. I recalled the early days of the Church and how Christians’ love for one another, and for their neighbor, was a marked change in Roman social mores. Christians buried babies they found that had died from exposure, abandoned outside, unwanted. They nursed the sick. They cared for the poor. These actions eventually founded the great institutions of the West, the hospitals, schools, almshouses, recently so taken for granted. Many Romans remarked on these odd Christian behaviors, and were converted to belief in the simple carpenter from Galilee, the Son of God.
I received the Eucharist, holding the Host in my palm, and thought how Rachelle in Offerings called her palm a crèche when she received, and now each time I receive I remember her words. Indeed, my palm was a crèche and I was thankful, joyously thankful.