At Home, the Third Sunday in Lent

Soon we will be in London.

As I said my prayers in church this morning, I pulled together the past week, the past month, the past year, and wove them into the present, to create a new cloth to become tomorrow.

For it has been a year of prayer and waiting in many ways, waiting on God.  I have known, as the Psalmist says, that God has “searched me out and known me” and as I repeat the lovely words of this psalm-song in my Lenten prayers morning and night I trust that his will for me, since he knows me, is good.  This trust has in turn given birth to patience.  So my waiting has not been too difficult.

One of my great desires has been to see our Children’s Chapel revived. This morning as I checked on the children in the back rooms, I heard the sounds of a piano and followed the notes.  Sure enough, one of our teachers was playing Hymn #61, “The Glory of these forty days”, upon our old upright piano in the newly decorated chapel.  Such joy to hear those sounds once again!

Light streamed from a high window upon the carved wooden altar, laid out with white linens and candles.  Many-sized chairs have been ordered and Stations of the Cross are framed and ready for the white walls. A lovely carved statue of a Madonna and Child stood on a pedestal in the corner.   I smiled as I looked at the children gathered today, noticing a former student of mine, now grown and married, who sat in one of the tiny chairs with her own baby Natalie.  Natalie was blowing kisses to our leader, and we all laughed.

Today the year came together in that small chapel.  Twenty years ago I prayed with the children in that same place, and today, once again we sang our songs of praise.  I thought how I would soon be leaving them for a short time, and I would bring this memory, this picture, with me: the draped altar, the golden cross, the flaming candles, the carved wooden frontispiece, the sweet Madonna and Child, the old piano played by my dear fellow teacher, and the children, aged one to twelve, the new generation.  I would travel with this picture in my heart, take it with me to England.

What will London show me?  What would God’s will be for me there?  What is his desire?  We shall return to T.S. Eliot’s Anglo-Catholic church in South Kensington, St. Stephen’s Gloucester Road.  We shall perhaps drop off a copy of Inheritance, my novel set in England, at the local public library. We shall drink tea in the afternoons and walk through the neighborhoods when weather permits.

And I shall wait on God.  I shall trust that he knows me, that I am truly searched out and known, and His will is good.  I shall be patient, and wait each day in wonderment as the minutes and hours unfold.

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