OK, I know I’ve “looked” already, but I have that other kind of “observe” in mind right now.
I was raised Catholic, but I think it’s safe to say: I’m not one now (I actually had a priest declare me an apostate, so I got that goin’ for me….) I have not observed Good Friday for years–and since I ate an enormous pastrami sandwich at Perry’s Deli today, let’s just say I’m not exactly keeping to Canon Law on fasting and abstinence. But today is a holy day for many, many people (though I feel obliged to note that it has unfortunately also been a day marred by anti-Semitic violence over the centuries as well). Given that so many people have marked this day as sacred, I thought that I would do something to observe that sacredness as well.
Across the street from my hotel is a Presbyterian church, done in the style of a barrel vault cathedral. It’s a beautiful structure, if somewhat anachronistic. Tonight, they had a choral service, sung in Latin and featuring music from Dave Brubeck’s Pange Lingua Variations. An eclectic performance/service, to say the least. It was quite beautiful, though, and quite something to be sitting amongst a congregation–some I am sure there just for the music, and some embracing the music as a form of worship. At the close of the service, though, came a moment that resonated strongly with me. Once the music and singing had finished, and the closing benediction had been given, the congregation sat is quiet meditation, while a single tower bell sounded, thirty-three times. At the end, we rose in silence and exited the church.
I can’t say that the experience was profoundly spiritual, or that I felt myself drawn back into the fold. But I did feel that I had managed to carve out a moment today that was unplanned, yet intentional and reflective–and in that regard, I do believe I observed the sacred of this day.
And needless to say: there’s an opportunity to observe the sacredness of the day every single day.
After the service, I took myself out to eat at a place around the corner called Friends Sushi, because, well, it just seemed too perfect to pass up!