Yesterday, after a night of hail and brimstone, lightning, thunderous claps and the continuous roar of 33 foot waves during the darkest hours, I awoke to a quieter dawn and dressed to attend church.
Well, my sort of church.
Sunday sermon morning finds me sitting outside attending to my religious needs. The chalice of transubstantiation I hold is a mug of coffee; my vestments a down vest and woolen beanie. Through the trees my sacred bodily senses are witness to, and carried along by, the rows of rolling white pews shouting out the gospel: “Hallelujah. Praise be to the Earth and your unique place within her bosomed land.”
Who says religious services have to be confined to a walled mortar and brick temple, church or mosque?
Not at Roaring Beach, anyways.
Consider this… the “nave” of a church — defined as the body of a church from the inner door to the choir or chancel, usually separated from the aisles by pillars — is Latin for “ship”. As in navy, or naval. Guess who’s sitting on the poop deck?
The trinity to whom I bow down most reverentially, are these three clustered hakea blossoms. More sweetly pungent than any incense and definitely not as smoky, the congregation of each tiny bud’s fragrance sends samadhi through me with each olfactory inhalation. Soft pink nestled on perky white within a crown of thorns gets me every time.
And in the sacrificial altar bowl? Today, there are cucumbers and three wee squash picked fresh from my own garden of Eden.
If I have any sermon to offer it is this: when your despairing soul cries out in need and prayerfully pleads for a touch of the jubilant — to awaken and move your dreaded existence to a place of hope curtained with passion — get thee to your own garden.
In time of need there are angels aplenty in the guise of carrots, bees, clouds, wind. Found in the apse of your tilled patch of earth they will be tasted in garlic, fondled in dirt and guaranteed to stampede the heart when called upon.
Make compost, plant seeds and then, when the time is ripe, pull gently on those firm orangish shafts until release comes. Nothing tastes better than when handled by love.