Every morning Monday through Friday my family gathers in a little room in our home we've dedicated as our chapel. It's a very simple room. Chairs and benches gathered around a table with a candle in the middle. On the book shelves are sacred texts of the world, a little altar, glass handed down through the generations of my family. Prayer shawls and an afghan crocheted by my grandmother drape chairs. We've tried to create a space to invite in ancestors, wisdom, and our still quiet voices.
This room is one of the reasons we were attracted to this house that became our home. There are stained glass windows throughout the house, and in the chapel is a sunrise. Its illumination changes with the seasons.
The liturgy is unpretentious:
The center candle is lit.
5-10 minutes of silent meditation
A piece of music
A piece of sacred text
We ask, “what is rising?” and people speak as spirit inspires them
We ask, “who has a prayer in them?” and a prayer is offered
The same piece of music
Extinguishing the flame
The structure of family chapel is simple and sturdy. The predictability allows for spacious exploration. We use the same music and text for an entire week and I find a certain arch to the week. Delight on Monday as I take the new pieces in. Tuesday I’m looking more earnestly for wisdom. Wednesday we go deeper. Thursday I feel like we’ve milked it well enough and I worry I will be bored with it tomorrow. Friday I let go and am astonished with something new once again. By Friday the pieces have tamed me and I don’t want to let them go. By Friday I’ve memorized pieces; they are in my bones.
The music and the text are intentionally paired by subject matter or message. We’ve been all over with the music from Gregorian chants to India Aire, from gospel to Janelle Monáe. The sacred text can be scripture from a world religion, a poem, reflection from a meditation manual, a few paragraphs from a book we are reading.
In future blogs I will share the music and text for each week and start tagging them by message or theme. My hopeful summer project is to create a series to be in sync with the worship themes of Soul Matters. If you have requests, please send them in!