Night Prayers

Good heavens, August 13th. Is that really my most recent blog?? Where have I been and what have I been up to?

Time really does speed up as you age. This is provable in the theories of quantum physics: everyone now knows that the faster one travels through space, the slower time goes by; and the slower one travels, the faster time moves. OK, so as I age, I’m definitely moving slower and time definitely moves faster. See? Quantum physics rules.

All of which has nothing whatsoever to do with the following blog entry.

We’ve once again changed our schedule (well, yes, I suppose that does have to do with time), and switched from a “combined Office” (a combination of Evening Prayer and Compline) to two separate visits to chapel. That makes Evening Prayer occur in the late afternoon, while there is still light enough to read in our electricity-less chapel.

Compline, on the other hand, is experienced the same way our brothers and sisters of old did it: by the flickering light of candles and oil lamps. I confess that I’ve added a high-tech booklight to my prayer equipment, though. I probably could sing Compline in the dark, which is precisely why these traditional night prayers were designed to be simple and consistent. But I’m more comfortable with a little more light and a lot less dependence on my memory. Like the rest of me it is slowing down.

There was more than candlelight and monastic atmosphere present tonight, however. Tonight we were joined by our non-human neighbors. During the silent pause between halves of Psalm verses, and in precisely the same key, a Barred Owl inserted her “who-cooks-for-you” hoot from the trees surrounding the back meadow. And as our Compline prayer drew to its quiet close, a pack of coyotes off in the forest tuned up a yelping, howling chorus.

Night Prayers: the vocal offering of God’s creatures in reflection and hope and joy. Thanks for a peaceful, safe day. How about a good rabbit for dinner? Any mice or voles available?

Sometimes the sound of our own voices is prayer enough to get us through the night.

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