Easter, Breathing, The Power of Prayer

I am not a religious person. I go to church once in a great while when it calls to me. I have faith but usually not religion. Does that make sense?

St Pauls cathedral

Right after Jim died I attended Easter services at St Paul Episcopal Cathedral in San Diego. It was an event. The music resounded through this church. The procession in was awe inspiring. It was a welcoming and holy place. The message I recieved there was of value to me and personal. It was something I could hold dear when I was grieving so intently.

I have attended First Presbyterian Church in Granville, Ohio to hear my niece’s husband preach. He is good.

Because I am an infrequent attendee of any church , these moments sitting in a holy place brings extra value into my life. Churches are quiet and holy and supports my spiritualness.

This morning I was listening to NPR Weekend Edition with Scott Simon. I wanted to share with you, readers, some of what he said at the end of the program.

“This is a weekend that includes Passover, Easter Sunday, and the continuation of Ramadan. Holidays about rescue, renewal, and reflection. Stories about the parting of seas, for a people to escape slavery; a great soul rising; and fasting and long nights of prayer to remind ourselves of the preciousness of life.

Sarah Sager, a Cantor in Beachwood, Ohio, told us this confluence of holy days, “represents the right of every human being to be free. For three-thousand years we have been observing this holiday with the same vision. We will continue to do so until the dream is realized. Somehow, it shouldn’t be so hard and rare.”

Imam Makram Nu’man El-Amin in Minneapolis told us, “I choose not to see this as a coincidence, but a sign that all these faiths overlap. We bring multitudes around the globe together in acts of prayers this weekend for the common good of all peoples. This is especially important in a time of conflicts and social justice concerns.”

This description helps me to more fully understand the meaning of this time. Easter is celebrated around the world. It is celebrated in many different ways. Imagine the power of all those prayers It truly is a holy and powerful time. It is about people of faith and those of us who flounder. It is about all of us.

Continuuing with Weekend Edtition Scott Simon ended with this poem.

And Sister Margaret Guider of the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry, sent us a poem that reads in part:

“The convergence of these sacred days
should serve as a collective reminder, 
that the prophetic heritage
of our respective faith traditions, whether adhered to or not
in the ways of our ancestors, continues to permeate the air
which the human family breathes, 
of freedom, love and peace,
the life-giving breath of the Holy One. 

Yet, many of us, throughout the year, 
breathe through our mouths, 
while holding our noses. 

In doing so, we defend ourselves from the suffocating air of 
bondage, hatred and violence 
that surrounds us. 

However, in doing so, 
we also close ourselves off 
from any opportunity of
smelling the scents of 
justice, hope and compassion 
that also arouse conscience, 
giving rise to courage, and resiliency. 
Perhaps these holy days
will provide us with an opportunity to open ourselves to be moved
Christians, East and West, 
Muslims, Shia and Sunni, 
and Jews, Orthodox and Reformed, 
to breathe in 
the scents of the sacred – of freedom, love and peace,
that we are called to breathe out –
Not only on special days,
But every day.”

Breath and Breathing have been a large focus of my life in the past two years. If I examine it, breathing has been an important part of my life since I was born. I have practiced yoga for over thirty years. Breath is so much a part of the practice. It is a very important part of yoga. Conscious breathing is a part of my life for some moments of every day. When I heard this poem read this morning I thought, “ah another reminder of breath and breathing and its many facets of importance in my life. We all breathe together, every moment of our existence on this earth. Breathing reminds me of the sacred and the power of all those prayers to transform and change.

Sunday I am going to church. I am attending my friends’ church. I was invited and I decided to go. I love the music and who knows. maybe I will once again receive a message for myself to carry me forward in growth and breath for another year.

I have already received one message from Weekend Edition this morning. Going to church on Easter Sunday is one more way of reminding me of the sacred and holiness in myself and all human-kind.

Remember to celebrate this holy day however you choose and truly remember to breathe in as well as out. This is a day where we are all one people.

Happy Easter!