Two Porches

I favor praying on a porch as many morning commuters who speed by on Union Street likely already know.  I perhaps should prefer seclusion to best commune with God, but somehow the inclusion of the whir of events, the friendly tap of horns as friends go by, life opening another day, reminds of God being incarnate in God’s people.  I have prayed atop a mountain and I have prayed before the stillness of a lake and been greatly pleased.  But I have no problem praying in the beauty of God’s creation from my front porch.

My porch is very different in Cuana.  This morning in the pre-dawn hour I prayed to a new soundtrack.  The groan of engines is replaced by the incessant crowing of cocks, the braying of donkeys and the barking of hundreds of dogs.  As these noises cascaded around me I thought, this is what Jesus must have heard every day he prayed.  What has changed less in two thousand years than a peasant village?  Parables and stories about animals take on a new meaning.  Ah, the stray dog that laps up the leftover food or licks the sores of Lazarus.  Peter’s sunrise denial before the cock crowed three times.  (Incidentally, given the standard of crowing in Cuana this morning, Peter’s three denials must have happened very rapidly.)

He surely came to save everyone, but the people he saw and loved lived like this.  This was his life.  You farm all you can, you depend on the hospitality of others, you have a skill and you hustle for work as a carpenter.  And for all the world, it would seem your life in inscribed in this village.  If the most ordinary part of his story seems distant from a first world perspective, it must seem so familiar to the people here. 

So time and again, we are told to think of Christ when we think of the poor.  Because those are the eyes he saw and those are the eyes he saw with.  I pray that next week, home again and praying from a beautiful white rocker I can keep these sounds in my ears.  They are holy and filled the nights of our Lord.  These are the sounds of salvation.

Written 10/5 pm

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