To read this morning's office, click here or see The Divine Hours, pp. 243-244.
"Bless the Lord, o my soul, and forget not all his benefits," so says our Refrain this morning.
Yesterday's morning office led me to think of what has happened in my life because of the incursion of God's grace into my life, and today the office leads me to think of the "benefits" and how they lead me to "Bless the Lord" from my "soul."
I am grateful today for the fellowship of my Department colleagues, and I am reminded of this because of our dinner together last night. Boaz and Sarita, Brad and Barb, Genevive, Kris and I are trying to get together once a month this summer to be friends, to fellowship around our work, and simply to enjoy one another. So, last night we went to an Ethiopian restaurant and had a splendid time.
We catch up on what we have been doing, on one another's kids, on what we will be doing -- nothing intense, nothing out of the ordinary -- just friends brushing up against the mystery of what happens when human meets human for the purpose of fellowship. We just want to be together.
Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, sees playing and fellowship as similar states. Playing is doing something for the sole purpose of its pleasure. If we convert some game we are playing with one another into winning, the game becomes sport. For it be playful, it must stop at being done for no other reason than the joy that comes to us in the doing.
In the same way, I see the "benefit" of fellowship to be "human playing." But more than this, playing in this sense is exactly what the three persons of the Trinity were doing in Eternity Past: simply put, Father-Son-Spirit were in the dance of love, called the perichoresis in ancient theology, in the three-circled splendor of light of interpenetrating one another.
Having dinner together, fellowship, and playing -- we were not doing "nothing." No, we were enjoying the Dance of the Ages.
Bless the Lord, o my soul.