I was 13 when I went to communion classes in the village church. I was quite prepared to be curious, certainly ready to be inspired, to connect with whatever was important in the religious life. But the vicar turned it into a dirge, and an ordeal, and a turn-off. How it could have been different!
(I expect he had his own problems – he once turned up to Christmas midnight mass late, and rather drunk…).
Mystic poets like Rumi, or Hafiz, have such a different feel in their approach to the religious life. Joy as well as prayer. Joy in prayer. Joyous life. Mischievous mysticism. I get a little envious and sad when I think of how it could have been for me.
But the only real way forward is to be here, be grateful, and be open to any blessing that may come.
And Where is God?
God was not in our communion class
nor in the words of the vicar
despite his talk of heaven
and the bible and the creed.
Oh Hafiz, where were you when I needed you?
Why did you not slip into the pews with us
while the vicar rambled on
and whisper in our ears:
think of the sweetest thing you know, and there God is
think of your love for your closest friend, and there God is
we will dance on the grass in the moonlight and find God there
we will practise feeling right into our hearts and find God there.
‘Ah’, says Hafiz, in my ear, ‘but I have slipped in now.
Do you like these pews so much that you keep coming back?
But if you wish, we can find God here as well as anywhere.’
‘Now I remember’, says Pete, ‘I will smile, and be open, and wait.’