Hand upon a head
Oil, breath and whispered prayers
Come Jesus heal me
It was the second part of the exercise, a challenge really, to turn the story I had just written into a haiku. Haiku are small poems with a very specific structure: only three lines, with the syllables of each line restricted to 5-7-5 syllables. Above is my finished haiku, inspired by the story I wrote on Monday at the annual Clergy Conference answering the question “Tell about when you saw the Holy Spirit at work in your church.” I wrote about the powerful healing prayer service we did together last Sunday at 10 a.m. I wrote about how I saw the longing we all have for healing in our hearts, in our lives, in the lives and bodies of those we love. Being the “follow the directions” person that I am, I worked hard on my story, and in telling it carefully to the fellow clergy colleague with whom I was paired. Little did we know that the real exercise was the “haiku follow up” part! The facilitator wanted us to tell the whole story so that we could then distill it down to 3 lines with only seventeen syllables! Hopefully the haiku I made captures the essence of the story…the longing we have, the touch, the presence of the Spirit in our trust in Jesus? You can decide if the haiku “works” to tell the story of what we experienced together.
When we gather for worship, we come to tell a story; our story with God. We read from the Bible, stories from long ago, but we claim they are “living words” for us too. We are part of this story, as God’s people now.
“This is my story, this my song, praising our Savior all the day long” is the refrain from the well-beloved hymn Blessed Assurance, which we will sing on Sunday! If you want to “warm up” and/or teach it to your children, you can find a music video with lyrics HERE.
In the prayers we say before Communion, we tell the story of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. This is our story as God’s people, redeemed and loved. We say the words, participate in the actions, and tell them to our children. This Sunday’s Eucharistic Prayer D from Common Worship highlights Jesus’ story with fresh words and invites us to claim it for our own: “This is his story. This is our song. Hosanna in the highest.” Almost like a haiku, these few words proclaim our faith, our story as God’s people. It is shorthand for our life as church, the way we are Christ’s Body here and now. Together we build community, heal one another, learn and grow, laugh and cry, love and receive love, in Christ’s name.
I hope to see you and your friends and family on Sunday as we gather “All In” to hear our story, God’s story, to pray and sing together as we praise the One who loves us all.