Our voices blend together, causing the room to hum melodically as we read the familiar passage from John over and over again. Because each individual is reading from a different part of the passage, picking up a single word, let alone a phrase or even a sentence, is nearly impossible. If you listen closely, you can hear crescendos and decrescendos, pauses and the quick tempo of those who speak fast. The noise churns about the room much like a stream flowing over rocks. In fact, if you had just heard the sound without the context, you might have mistaken us for a stream.
For once, eight a.m. is not too early to learn about ancient (or at least older) civilizations. In this case, we were learning about corporate monastic praying in the early 1000’s. Fascinating stuff, surprisingly.
Two hours later, the guest chapel speaker closes out with his own prayer -in Hebrew. His voice rises and falls with emotion as he flawlessly sings (yes, sings) out the ancient prayer in that beautiful, rough language. He is, after all, Jewish. If you have never listened to someone speak Hebrew, you really should. It has all the beauty of French, but with all the roughness of German.
Prayer- it’s not always so clearly defined, is it?