In your steps
…..in your steps
If you spend even a short amount of time at a L’Arche prayer night or accompany us in a church service, you will likely encounter our echoing voices. For those in our community who don’t read, or may not yet know or remember liturgical responses, or might just take a little longer to follow along, this pattern of breaking up a sentence and allowing another to repeat the words calls us to slow down and learn. Core members’ voices follow behind an assistant’s as a liturgy is read – assistants’ voices follow behind a core member’s as they learn the words to “Holy Spirit, Come.” These echoes remind me of all the ways we rely on each other; they are indicators of deep trust in the one whose voice speaks first.
It should have come as no surprise to me that I would encounter these echoes on Good Friday. Hazel, Mary, and I walked the four blocks from Highland House (a L'Arche house) to the outdoor stations of the cross, bundled against the wind and happy with the sunshine. We’d looked forward to this day for most of the week – one of the things I love about Incarnation is the proximity of our chapel to the front porches of L’Arche.
We walked, station by station, Mary and I taking turns reading each scripture aloud. Together we three would look at the images and note what was standing out to us. Hazel would often gesture, and we would ask a question to clarify or explain what was depicted (silver coins...a rose...a tree), depending on the moment. One of the things I appreciate about my relationship with Hazel is the fact that questions are a must in order to truly know each other – and the more we know each other, the more intentional the questions can become. We communicate differently; it takes both of us time to understand and honesty when we’re feeling frustrated or misunderstood (full disclosure – I made sure Hazel was okay with me sharing these thoughts. I asked her if she’d like to co-write some thoughts from our time together and she just laughed and said “nah, man. You do it!”)
As we walked from station to station, we found ourselves in our echoes - once again establishing our familiar call and response of breaking down the words of the final prayer – Lord Jesus...help me…. to walk...in your steps. Station by station, verse by verse, image by image - a pause and an invitation to lead and to follow.
~Eva-Elizabeth and Hazel