I'm a choir kid through and through. What made me fall in love with classical singing was choir in high school, and all during my undergrad, I (mostly) loved my college choir experiences. There's something magic about making music with forty-some-odd other people, each bringing something different to the table to form a coherent, cohesive whole.
(It's the reason many people say they love choir, so this is kind of a cliche, but it's true.)
I always danced when I was in choir. Conducted myself. Kept the beat with my body. It was always my goal to be the most interesting person to watch, and according to many, I succeeded.
My senior year at Tech, my beloved University Choir did the Verdi Requiem with the Lubbock Symphony Orchestra (LSO, not to be confused with the London Symphony Orchestra) and a few divine professional soloists. The Requiem Mass has been set to music many times by many different composers, and Verdi's music will stick with me forever. For one thing, it was drilled into us; IT WAS SO HARD. But it was also incredibly rewarding to sing. That dang fugue at the end of the seventh movement, man. WORTH. IT.
The text of the Requiem Mass has been on my mind a bit recently, but not because I can see anyone around me reflecting any kind of death. No, it's for a different reason.
The opening text, the Introit, begins like this:
Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine,
et lux perpetua luceat eis.
Eternal rest give to them, Lord,
and shine perpetual light upon them.
What's been sticking with me is not the eternal rest (requiem aeternam; dang, I love Latin).
What I can't get out of my head is the perpetual light.
It just sounds better in Latin to me, y'all.
In the Litany I read this morning, there was a request for this lux perpetua to shine upon the departed. That makes sense; it's an old mainstay of the mass for the dead.
But it got me thinking.
I could do with some perpetual light myself.
And then it was only a hop, skip, and a jump to the next thought.
I am dwelling in that light. I'm walking around in it. I'm breathing it in.
If you've been around here for any length of time, it's hard to miss the fact that light is one of my favorite metaphors. I see God in the morning light that shines upon the land. This morning I walked out on my balcony to 1) see how cold it was (it's freaking June, y'all; can it maybe warm up juuuuuust a tad in the mornings?) and 2) read a prayer. And I just sat staring at the eastern sky, whence stemmed this stunning pale light of light champagne-gold, suffusing the sky with its delicacy.
It's like lace. It's like gauze. It's like the lightest cake frosting just slightly glazed over true eternal blue.
Morning light is my favorite. It's delicate, but not dainty. It's pale, but not wan, not weak. It's kind, but not afraid.
Sunsets are great and all, and west Texas has some great ones, but give me a sunrise any day of the week.
I just keep thinking about the lux perpetua that we are dwelling in all the time.
If we have Jesus, we are walking around in it. It's like an aura, an amoeba that encases us. It's like we're walking around in some kind of blob of light, a force field, and that's absolutely not poetic, but then again -- maybe it is.
There's a lot that can be poetry that we don't think has that ring.
But then we look closer, and see that what looked like not a good idea at first, or what looked kinda ugly at first glance, has the smell and feel and taste and clear bell-ring of Home.
This is not a post about Important Things. This is a post about how we're walking around in eternal light and we don't know it. No one has to pray it over us.
But I do pray that we would look up every now and again.
See it. See that the world around us is suffused with the electromagnetic spectrum of Heaven and then something more besides.
Light is magic to me. They go together. Watching a sunrise is like watching a magic show, because it happens so slowly you can't distinguish it, until -- wait -- what?? How did the sun come up already?
We are walking around in it.
Look out. Touch it. It is under your fingertips. Feel the pads of your fingers vibrate upon it.
And be ready to hand it out to those who lack it.