A few weeks before she completed her time with us as Parish Assistant Hannah preached a memorable sermon at Sunday Mass, in which she reflected with us on her time with us. Here is an abridged version:
Lost in wonder, love, and praise – the last line of the song Love Divine, All Loves Excelling by Charles Wesley. A song I heard for the first time this year when we sang it at our Sacred Heart Mass a couple weeks ago. I believe this phrase, ‘Lost in wonder, love, and praise,’ simply sums up my year of service here in England. When I heard this phrase, I reflected on it’s meaning with my own interpretation.
I have been wandering on an unknown path all year, feeling lost at times. I am not lost in the understanding of the word, as off the right track or disoriented. Although, that did happen a few times in London and Barcelona. But, I am lost in the understanding of being completely absorbed by my surroundings. Becoming aware of the new senses and raw emotions within the experience. Completely absorbed in the moments filled with wonder, love, and praise.
I arrived in England on an early morning back in August. I remember flying into England and looking out my window to see a foggy, green countryside. I was lost in the moment of wonder. A feeling of admiration of the country’s beauty rushed over me. I was curious about the people living below and how I would soon be a part of this country. Curious about the way people in England live and interact with each other. Being in a new country, I have been able to observe and wonder about the cultural norms and traditions. Each day comes with its own challenges and joys, and this year I have learned to wonder and wander more deeply.
In the gospel, Jesus states, “Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.” This church has welcomed me in with warm arms ever since day one. And for that, I am forever grateful. I have been able to hear stories of past, present, and future, woven together in this church. Each Sunday, new faces walk through these doors and the hospitality this church shows is abundant. Sharing meals, stories, and tea with people at this church allowed me to be lost in love. Lost in God’s love pouring out through the people.
During my time here, I have been able to notice the differences and similarities of this church community’s traditions compared to my Lutheran traditions. I have noticed that even though our outward expression of faith is different, sharing God’s love is at the heart of each faith. I have been able to reflect on and engage in my faith in a variety of new ways. For example, praying the rosary, attending Tenebrae and the Easter Vigil, and going on the pilgrimage to Ladyewell were new experiences for me. During these times of worship and prayer, I have become lost in praise. Completely absorbed in the way we celebrate and show God’s love.
We are all on a journey. A path which involves a variety of relationships, moments of joy and pain, and times of curiosity and adventure. A path where God walks alongside us during the whole journey. When we become lost in the moment, we are presented with a place to discover more about ourselves and the world around us. It is important for us to become lost in the moment. Moments of wonder, love, and praise. It is also important for us to have goals, hopes, and dreams, even when we don’t know what the future holds. Therefore, in order to know where you’re going, you need to have an awareness of where you are right now. I encourage you to get lost. Get lost in those moments of wonder, love, and praise, and see what you discover.
(More reflections from Hannah are here.)