Monday, January 4, 2010

Monday Mimisms ~ The View From My Pew (Praying For Peace On New Year's Eve)


Driving to the mall one day I noticed a Quaker Friends Meeting sign that said, "24 hr. Prayer For Peace - December 31, 2009 "
I am so there.


It was cold, raining and foggy. 11:30 pm on New Year's Eve. That did not stop around 50 individuals from walking into the Friends Meeting House and praying for peace as the new year began.

My seat. My pew. My view.You there over in Malaysia..... Would you share that hymnal, please?

I turned off the phone and the camera when the service started. I wish you could have heard the music. So simple. So peaceful. A harmonica played a Woodie Guthrie tune as the prelude. The rest we sang with only accordion accompaniment or a cappella. We sang three Community of Taize songs, "Let There Be Peace On Earth" and a Hebrew round.

Quakers have an amazing tradition of "waiting on the spirit to speak" as a portion of their worship service. It was my favorite part of the whole evening. Only one gentleman offered anything out loud - a brief comment on the power and purpose of prayer - other than that, no one else spoke for what seemed like a long time....but all were actively engaged in a reverence for peace in the moment. There was a comfortable stillness that came along around midnight. I thought of all of you and tried to bring your words and passions to my prayers.

Of the small crowd gathered in the larger than life sanctuary, many of whom you would find out marching in peace rallies and carrying signs on the streets of this city, I saw several older folks, a handful of long-haired ponytailed sixties flower power children, middle aged couples and one pencil skirt. All prayed silently.
But it was a loud, lovely stillness.

Lastly, we sang the traditional Hebrew round "Shalom Chaverim!" and the congregation improvised a round.
I scribbled a few notes on the bulletin.
This from the Gospel of Thomas:



"If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you."

How appropriate for our world and for a community of peace bloggers who bring forth brilliant words of hope in a world filled with darkness.
We sang and it was time to walk out into a new decade.



As I left I snapped a photo of this sign on the door.
Yes, my bloggy friends, I got some strange looks. A lady jumped out (literally) and insisted I take one of the altar poinsettias home with me. Whew. I thought she was going to confiscate my camera, at which point I would have had to explain that there's this little thing called peace globes and I would be glad to show her a few of them if she liked and do you have a blog ma'am cause your church door is about to appear on the worldwide web as a beacon for peace on my blog and I just wanted to share my night with my friends who blog for peace cause they spin all 365 days of the year don't ya know well not the people but the globes and oh the cats are really something and we proudly host fifty groovy peace-lovin' countries but we're working on ....on....and anyway, would you like one too?
Instead she smiled and handed me the plant.
I decided to shut up and say thank you and leave.
We exchanged Happy New Year wishes.
It was around 12:40 am by then on the first day of a new decade in the year 2010.
There is no place I would have rather been.
I heard someone say as they walked outside that it was their first time coming to the service and how nice it was. Interesting. Although I was out of town and had never set foot in that church myself, I didn't feel at all out of place.
All of you were there.


I will share my poinsettia. See?

So I walked down the steps in a long black coat dodging fog trying not to trip carrying a camera, a large-leafed poisonous plant and a purse. Somehow my camera, practically buried in the leaves of the plant went off on its own as if possessed and flashed me right there in the peaceful Quaker rain. It came out all psychedelic in a funky groovy tie-dye style with so many varied shades of rich colors all blended together in a beautiful blur of brilliant rich light.
Psychedelic peace.

Perfect.

34 comments:

Jeff B said...

Sounds like a perfectly beautiful place to bring in the new year.

May 2010 bring continued peace to those already experiencing it, and may it also find those who long for it.

Mr. Lance said...

Surprise pictures are always the best.

Happy New Year, All the best in 2010!

Patti said...

That must have been a moving New Year's Eve service. It sounds so peaceful. What a great way to start a new year.

There was another pencil skirt there??

Dawn (Twisted Sister) said...

Sounds like a beautiful service. I would have loved to be there. Especially when you got caught taking a photo ;)

A perfect start to the New Year!

Mimi Lenox said...

Jeff - It was perfectly lovely. Really. I will be there again next year.

Mimi Lenox said...

Patti - Very funny! There is only one pencil skirt in these parts. Bah!!

(you may proceed to the dungeon now...)

Mimi Lenox said...

Mr.Lance - Aren't they?
Happy New Year to you as well.

Mimi Lenox said...

Dawn - The door photo was a bit touchy (leave it to me to get in trouble in a church)...actually, wouldn't be the first time. Another story for another day.

Oh, but you were there....

Cogitator said...

Thanks for sharing. A great start to the decade

Akelamalu said...

How wonderful! :)

Linda said...

This is just so YOU to be spending New Year's Eve praying for peace and surreptitiously snapping photos at the same time! Well, perhaps not at the exact time but you know what I mean!

Sounds like the perfect start to your year and it seems that your camera agrees!

Bond said...

Wonderful you found the service...wonderful for toe-curling kisses...wonderful for letting it all happen and not thinking about where it HAS to go...

wonderful for putting another year behind us but knowing there is a fresh clean year ahead

Charles Gramlich said...

Silence can be such a beautiful prayer.

whitewitch said...

A perfectly peaceful way to celebrate the new year. Praying is indeed the best means we can celebrate the departure of the previous year and the coming of the new year. I particularly loved the part where all of you prayed in silence.

Eyre said...

Thanks so much for sharing! That does sound like a lovely way to welcome in 2010. I can't imagine going a day without prayer, and it's beautiful when people come together for just that purpose.

Gary's third pottery blog said...

and a peaceful new year to you too :)

Mimi Lenox said...

Cogitator - Just about perfect, I'd say.

Mimi Lenox said...

Akelamalu - It was wonderful!

Mimi Lenox said...

Linda - My camera has a mind of its own....Happy New Year to you!

Mimi Lenox said...

Vinny - You were not supposed to tell them about the toe-curling kisses!! Your advice though...well taken.

The service was simple. Small. Intimate. Perfect.
And just perfect.

Mimi Lenox said...

Charles - Sooo true.

Mimi Lenox said...

whitewitch - It was a palpable feeling of stillness and joy. Truly.

Mimi Lenox said...

Eyre - And when the subject is peace, I am there. Glad to have found another person who believes in prayer.

Mimi Lenox said...

Gary - And to you, my friend!

Travis said...

I know who took that last photo.

Cheers and Peace for your New Year!

Mimi Lenox said...

Travis - Smiles.
And chills.

Ferd said...

What a great thing to do on this otherwise weird holiday. People try to make it something more than it is, but then Jan 1 at 12:01 sets in and you say, "now what?" A bit of a letdown. But a peace service would leave you with a sense of lasting warmth. Cool!

" It came out all psychedelic in a funky groovy tie-dye style with so many varied shades of rich colors all blended together in a beautiful blur of brilliant rich light." Mimi, you know me out! LOL

SandyCarlson said...

Sounds like a great way to spend that evening, Mimi. Congratulations on your successfully shoot, too. These are great pix.

Happy New Year.

Mojo said...

Sounds like you found the perfect party. I myself was out like a light before 11 PM. But had I known...

Mimi Lenox said...

Ferd - I've never heard the phrase "you know me out"..divulge!!

Mimi Lenox said...

Sandy - Thank you but I am no photographer compared to you. I love your work! I point and shoot and there is some strange funky something in my camera lens making it look foggy and milky. I must figure this out.

It was a moving service.

Mimi Lenox said...

Mojo - Sometimes I don't stay up on New Year's. 2009 was quite a year of transition and pain for me.
I needed to start this one off right.

Anndi said...

*smile*

Julie said...

I am SO glad I'm still reading. It's 2am and there is no place I'd rather be. I would have loved to have spent NYE with you.

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