In a week when Valentines swirl, and the mail might arrive with scented stationery or upside-down stamps, or flowers might arrive at the door, or better yet, home-made red construction paper hearts backed with white fringed paper doilies to carry big love from children, with heart candy that says: Be Mine!
. . . in that spirit. . .
I send you these rose petals, this home-made heart on my dining room table, my expression of love!
And did you see, that I wrote it in Latin, my greeting of love?
You probably did notice, and you probably also noticed that it was vaguely familiar!
Indeed, because it is the phrase we have begun singing during our love feast in church. We sing it when we all share together our bread and wine for a love feast at the table, candles and white linens, notwithstanding. Definitely the romance of love!
“Ubi Caritas, et amor, ubi caritas, Deus ibi est.”
We’re singing in latin, and doesn’t everything sound better in latin?! More romantic, more mysterious, more feasible, more hopeful. . .
It’s that good old Ancient church of ours,
“Ubi Caritas, et amor, ubi caritas Deus ibi est.”
("Where true charity and love abide, God is there")
The church has been loving and singing of it for centuries.
This little ditty that we sing during communion is a Gregorian chant, as old as the 10th century, possibly the 4th century, and perhaps, and most likely, from even before the mass itself was formalized as a ‘rite’ in the very early church.
We lift our voices with the throngs, we join in the God-love with a sweet melody, in hopes that the ethereal will produce the tangible.
We sing with the ancients, this Gregorian Chant, during communion, in hopes that our singing of God-love, will produce human-love. We sing in hopes that in our chanting of human-love, we will see God.
“Caritas” expresses love for humanity, and wherever that is found, God is there.
Imagine! All we have to do is love, any kind of love at all. . . any love . . . and God is there! Voila!
Do we seek God?
Do we doubt God?
Do we long for God? Do we beg God to show up?
Do we wonder at God’s absence?
And Yet. God is so easily found.
God is there in our loving.
God is as certain as that.
All we have to do is love…and we do indeed, love.
That much I know. I’ve seen it.
For all our want to play with the liturgy and bring light and joy and peace into our worship ~ here we are ~ singing Gregorian chant! For love!
Aren’t we smart?!
Let’s talk more on Sunday morning, about this great love and the occasion for our feasting!
"God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them."
I John 4:16
Reverend Ruth Pattison
Rev. Pattison serves the people of Highpoint Episcopal Community Church as the Parson, exercising her gifts for collaborative leadership through preaching, liturgy, and the pastoral arts.