yesterday we attended brahms' english requiem downtown. sun streaming in through stained glass windows while the baritone memorializes ageless melodies, timed to honor the feast of all saints in the church calendar year.
we are also planning to attend vespers the same evening at the local cathedral. what we don't know is that it is also a requiem, this one by the composer faure. parishoners place photos of deceased loved ones on the platform steps in front of the orchestra as the musicians tune. we pause to light candles in honor of friends and relatives gone on before us.
i am so touched by the intentionality of the service and by the rich environment of icons, latin, incense, and wine that i suddenly realize quiet tears are rolling down my cheeks. there is no other way but stereotypically to describe the four young ladies singing "pie jesu" except "angelic." walking back to my pew i survey all of the different sizes, textures, and styles of people represented: dredlocks, downs syndrome, chemo-scarved, business-professional; a small girl with brown curly hair and doe-like brown eyes looks straight into mine as i take my seat.
i am not even a member of this congregation and yet i feel so warm, so welcome. and i have never been to such back-to-back richness as in these events. my heart is more than full: a small taste of heaven on earth.