Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transparent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world. ~ Sara Ban Breathnach

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Call to feast with the shoppers...

We don't accomplish anything in this world alone... and whatever happens is the result of the whole tapestry of one's life and all the weavings of individual threads form one to another that creates something. ~ Sandra Day O'Conner

Bind Us Together, Lord...

Macrina titles this entry from her journal as "The harvest at the shopping mall: feasting with the shoppers." I nearly laughed out loud when I read this title.  You see, I hardly ever go to a mall any more.  MAYBE two times a year.  But yesterday morning, while I was sitting at my computer, focused on work...Nancy called:
Nancy: What are you doing? 
Me: Working. 
Nancy: I'm wanting to do something for fun! 
Me: Ok.... what? 
Nancy: I want to go to the northside.  Go to the mall because I want to show you some jeans that I think would fit you better than the ones from TJ Maxx (I love the bluntness and honesty of my daughters!) and I want to go to the Homestore.  
Me: (I will skip the conversation regarding the jeans!) long as we won't be gone long! I've work to do.
Honestly? This might have been my second trip to a mall all this year and I open the book this morning to "The harvest at the shopping mall..." ? What are the odds?
"My restlessness drove me to the mall today. There I milled around among all the shoppers looking at things I didn't need and wanting to fill my emptiness by purchasing some useless item." (Macrina Wiederkehr, A Tree Full of Angels, p 142) 
When we pulled up outside the Homestore, there was not a empty spot to be seen. Nancy exclaimed, "Why are there so many people!! Don't they have to work!"

I did not see that many shoppers with bags at the mall, but at the Homestore, carts were full with all kind of stuff and the check out lines were long.  I wish I had read this journal entry yesterday so I could have carried these thoughts as I wandered in and out of stores...looking at things I didn't need and wanting to fill my emptiness by purchasing some useless item.

If Macrina had stopped right there, I would have had enough to consider today, but she continues:
"Suddenly something within me brought a poignant awareness of all the people rushing through the mall. It was as though in the midst of this crowded mall something holy was oozing through these scurrying human beings. I felt a sacred urge to kneel down in their midst and bow my head in honor of all the beauty of their lives that goes unseen. I overcame this urge rather quickly lest I be trampled...or locked up for being mentally unbalanced...I did find a bench...and had 'long looks' at the people. The long looks became prayers. I prayed the people as they rushed, casting healing glances in their direction." (Ibid)
I am a "people watcher".  I watch people at the gym.  I watch people wandering around a garden nursery. I watch people as they wait for a table at a restaurant.

I watch people, and I too sometimes think about how there is so much within that person, whom I don't know.  I think about how amazing it is that we are in this place, at the same time, and how we will shortly go our separate ways...yet our lives have touched ever so slightly in this moment of time.  We are connected by invisible threads.

I've had these thoughts and I have at times offered up prayers, yet Macrina's prayer touched my heart.  I wish to be a shopper walking by a Macrina:
"O God, I prayed, these are the people made in your image. Do you rush like this, God? Do you hurry through the heavens looking for bargains? O God, be in every heart that hurries. Be in every step that people take. Help them to know what it is they are shopping for. Feed the hungers of their hearts with a food they'll never find in shopping malls. Help them to slow down so they can taste their true hunger." (Ibid)
I believe in the power of prayer and I simply sit here and feel a sense of awe that someone sitting on a bench, might pray such a prayer as I walk by.  I wonder if my heart is open enough to feel the nudge of peace, love, or joy from that prayer?
Every knee shall bow....
"While still gazing at these hurrying people, I had a strange and lovely dream for them. I dreamed that everyone in the mall suddenly fell to their knees and adored the God in each other. A strange dra, perhaps, but wouldn't it be powerful if it came true? Can you imagine the peace of such a moment?...Can you see this moment of holiness? Can you imagine how heaven would feel?"
Like so many times throughout this book, I simply sit with a thought or image of Macrina's and think, "Wow..."  Macrina ends by saying she left the mall with empty hands, but with a heart that was full.


I am constantly saying, "Be the change that you want to see..." But, I'm not sure I would have thought of being a person of calm, love, the midst of a crowded store and with intention putting that sense of calm into the moment.  I'm amazed with the notion of praying a similar prayer over those who walk past me...

Because, even though we are separate, we are connected.  We are all one in God's tapestry of love and invited to dine together at God's Table.

God's Table is much bigger and broader than any Table I could find in any church here on this earth.

God's Table extends outside of our churches.

I am reminded of the passage from Isaiah that Jesus preached as I sit here pondering God's Table.  Luke 4 tells me of Jesus' time in the wilderness, and then takes me into the synagogue where I hear him preach:
  18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
   because he has anointed me
   to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
   and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
   19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
In my mind, during those moments Macrina sat at the mall, she was anointing that "space" with the Spirit of the Lord.  No, People did not stop and kneel...but wasn't Macrina envisioning the spirit of Pentecost as expressed in Acts 2?
16 No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: 17 “‘In the last days, God says,
   I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
   your young men will see visions,
   your old men will dream dreams.
18 Even on my servants, both men and women,
   I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
   and they will prophesy.
19 I will show wonders in the heavens above
   and signs on the earth below,
   blood and fire and billows of smoke.
20 The sun will be turned to darkness
   and the moon to blood
   before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.
21 And everyone who calls
   on the name of the Lord will be saved.’
The question I will hold and carry in my heart today..."What if I truly saw God's Tapestry every time I looked at my family, the shoppers at Kroger or Walmart. What if I saw God's Tapestry within the images I am preparing for the 9/11 service?

Here's a good one....What if I saw God's Tapestry every time I looked out at my congregation?

Macrina envisioned every knee bowing and imagined the peace at such a moment.  By having done this....did she not send out the energy of peace into that space at that moment?  By having done it possible that one person's heart was slowed and that person also left the mall with a heart that was full?

I don't give God the opportunity to work through me nearly enough!

I think too small, depending on what "I" can do.

God, forgive me for not setting you lose within me to perform miracles...that I might never see and would be, by the world's standards, small and insignificant.  Yet, the world would see the small morsel of bread and the tiny cup of wine as small gifts.  But, I know...that small piece of bread and tiny cup hold Your Kingdom....HERE right my midst. God, help me to see your tapestry of love, in every face, in every creature, in all the scenes of nature... As I become more aware of your rich tapestry, may I then know true peace and may I share that peace wherever I go.  AMEN.

Many Blessings ~ Sandi 


  1. God works in His own ways and what a beautiful dream you dreamt... It was heart touching...
    Gods miracles are everywhere around us, the rising sun, the blooming flowers, the vast rivers.... We just need eyes to experience them!!!
    Have a fabulous week ahead Sandi:)

  2. Sandi,
    love this post...thought I was the only person who thought like this.....I remember standing on a balcony of a huge bookstore looking over and having the same sense of our connectiveness.....of being in the same place with people and never having the option to pass again.....we really are on one big labyrinth walking, moving, passing...all headed to the center...........great post today..thanks.