An Affirmation of that which Sparkles and Shines

By Shiloh Sophia McCloud

Faith In The Promises By Shiloh Sophia McCloud

Day 3 – Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts
An affirmation of that which sparkles and shines

head bowed down to the ground
the babe in front of me
held in the bow of her mother
pushes a tiny silver glittered slipper into my hand
rests there a moment
and anoints my palm with silver glitter

standing now and singing our hearts
the gold halo on Christ shines brilliant green
and I wonder why – and it is so radiant
over fifty beeswax candles light our way this night

millions around the world
join us in our celebration of “bright sadness’
head bowed down to the ground again
many times tonight we enter more fully
God’s embrace
many people here and everywhere
surrender self
and claim kinship with God

singing songs of mercy and remembrance
giving up ideas of what we though before
and inviting ideas of what might be
a new thought rises like Spring’s first daffodil

“since I struggle and seek to know what’s true
and do not arrive at truth’s shore,
is it sufficient, is it ‘mete and right’
to be here tonight
on the third day of Lent
loving God with my husband and all
of these
beautiful people?
do I have to know, agree, fully embrace
everything said, sung or prescribed
is it sufficient to be here and choose to be here?
to worship among the faithful?
is it good for my life?
better for my marriage?
better than the alternative?
to wonder and not worship?
to wander and not break bread with believers?

yes. yes. it is good.

the clear answer, so distinct in it’s brightness
outshines previous attempts at clarity
and shines my heart now
with relief. (sigh)
the scent of the incense of my Grandmother’s grandmother
fills my senses with a moment of something akin to
inner peace
(however fleeting)

I call to the Mother of God
she who is called names like Pillar of Fire and Theotokos
and Mercy Seat and a hundred other names of adoration
I am listening always for her names when the chants move
through their tones and cycles like gentle waves
because it lets me know, again and again
I am in the right place
I am in the right place
like Dorothy tapping her red shoes
and proclaiming
there is no place like home
I am in the right place
because I am in a house of God
where the Mother is present
where her face and name and song
is part of the fabric of moment by moment life
She is not a token mention
She sits in the mercy seat with Her God child
high in the dome
surveying us with Her tender gaze
“Under your compassion I take refuge”
I say the oldest prayer to Her in my full heart
my husband, standing behind me,
puts his arms around me
I’m sorry. he says, as if for every single thing
done and not done
I’m sorry. i say for every single thing
done and not done.
bowing now
all the way down
and up we come
and what I see
is the mystery green shine of Christ’s halo
calling me to who He is
and who I am in this unfolding story of creation
the flash of the tiny silver shoes of a girl child glistens
along with the haloes in the sanctuary
and she with silver shoes covered in glitter
amidst the black and grey of our clothing
is an icon of remembrance for me
– personally –
an affirmation of sparkle
she makes me glad I have on my red cowgirl boots
reminds me that surrendering self does not mean
the unique God-given identity of me
but surrendering that which no longer serves God
or me.
fasting from judgement – anger – impatience –
indulgence – not because it is the “rules”
or even that God requires it –
but because we can
we can reach through our day to day self seeking
and survival
and give our minds and bodies into God’s keeping
(when we are able)
I am still not keeping to all of the Lenten menu
but each meal not overdone is a victory for my family
we, like so many, live our lives over glasses of wine
and coffee and cake (organic of course)
but like so many, need a break from so many choices
to consider the gifts of our lives
and here, in this house, to consider
Who God Is.

I am the daughter of a poet and sage
and it is for that reason
a silver shoe can mean so much to me
yes sister Cinderella, who taught me so long
ago, that hard work and suffering and living
in mean-spirited places
does not mean you don’t get to marry the shining Prince

the shoe fits!
it fits! Sisters remember – losing one slipper
and having your coach turn into a pumpkin is not
the end of the story. no!
I give thanks, working today with women of wonder,
who shared their love with me today,
which is an integral part of my spiritual feast
You are gift from God. A Special delivery. Thank you.
I remember you now and who you are.
May I be a blessing to you as you are to me.

I give thanks
bowing now
I give thank for this moment
this day this night
this life.

Under Your Compassion,

Shiloh Sophia

It is the third day of Lent and we have come from church and bowls of steaming porridge (vegan) eaten quietly after the service. The green halo, I discovered later was the exit sign reflected which was over the door opposite the Icon of Christ on the Cross – the word EXIT seemed appropriate in thinking of what I think He did by coming here. Providing a way home. To Him – to the place of peace he came to offer us as an exit strategy from an often weary world.  I had no idea millions of people practiced a strich vegan diet four times a year – including no oil!  The Priest said, the glass of wine after the fast will taste so good you won’t believe it.
And after even a little over a week and half of eating less dairy, meat and wine – an orange tastes like paradise.