Historical setting: A dark age on the Saxony Shore of Gaul
Tentacles of light prod promise unto paths of bright day through treetops trumpeting the grand entrance of the sun.
The children conclude their grief ritual as Father Silas leads six of his followers onto the beach. They come with baskets of bread and fishes, fruits, dried and fresh, and a block of cheese. They bring a skin of goat’s milk they say is for the “baby” but it is plenty for all. I know the children have had nothing like this for a very long time. One woman has an armload of little blankets and cloaks all knitted warm from wools.
“She knits,” I’m told by Father Silas, “for her own lost children for whom she grieves. So giving her gift to others who grieve is a worthy bond.”
I seem to be relegated cook for the group, so I start fanning embers to flame for the pot. The fire crackles to the music of the psalms sung at the shore. This is what the children practiced among themselves all through the night. They know this song. Dear God, let me savor this and truly, I do love you and yes, I will feed your lambs. Amen.
So we eat together and the talk is not of grief and poverty, but of the plenty, the love, the hopes and fearless prayer. Father Silas is clasping firmly onto every morsel of joy, smiling and wringing his hands together in unspoken but bold prayer of thanksgiving. He tells me of a man he met last night.
“When I sent my gossip afloat into my parish to tell of the needs of these children people showed up with alms of plenty for these children. One man came who is a stranger to me, and when I saw his gift I thought surely this is the amazing and holy synchronicity of God at work, supplying even the need for a man’s sandals and cloak. I thought you would have these fine things given you in this celebration, but when I told him I knew of someone who could use his gifts, he withdrew them and told me his gift was only intended for a particular need. He said he was looking to give it to ‘a certain young monk with a scrambled mind.’ I told him we have no monks here at all. We are only a church with one priest assigned. So he took his gift and went away.”
“Did he tell you where he was going?”
(Come back again, next Tuesday June 23)