I’m now into my second week of the UK tour. It’s all going smashingly. I’ve met some great people, seen some incredible places and had some wonderful realizations. I continue to find myself enjoying the beautifully human moments. More and more, the ordinary moments hold the treasure for me.
I’ve always felt this way, but it seems very clear to me now that spirituality is about a full experience of life, all of life. My favorite moments in church have always been the human moments. There were some nice moments in church at St James Piccadilly yesterday. A St Patrick’s Day parade passed by the church (it felt and sounded like it was going right through the church). First it was bagpipes, then a Johnny Cash sound-alike, then a big band, and raucous cheering all the while. The Catholic celebration outside merged with our protestant celebration inside. It was a nice metaphor for the merging of perspectives, traditions and lives. We really aren’t that different; English, Australian, American, Catholic, Protestant, old, young.
This realization came to me as I was speaking to a group of people in England, not that different to groups of people anywhere in the world. At St James, they gather in a motley circle to receive communion. I found this moving, after sharing in my sermon about a former church where people elbowed each other for first sip of the communion wine and prostitutes nodded off while standing at the communion rail.
Then I discovered that Rabbi Rami had spoken at C3 the same morning on spirituality as humanity, even the challenging moments. I shouldnt be surprised by that synchronicity. Rami is a kindred spirit.
There have been memorable human moments with each group I have mixed with, too many to mention here. I have now been from London to the top of England, into “All Creatures Great and Small” country, and across to Leeds. In each group there have been atheists, progressive Christians, Buddhists and people becoming more and more resonant with the phrase ‘Spiritual but not Religious.” One moment from Leeds stays with me. A 93 year old man spoke up right towards the end of the workshop. He had struck me early on as someone who has seen a lot of life, and still smiles in the face of it all. He said he was drawn to nature and then recited a beautiful verse from William Wordsworth’s poem “Daffodils”. I was very moved and it has stayed with me-
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.
He captured the essence of living as a spiritual being on a human journey through mystery, nature, beauty, love and humanity.