Late in the afternoon of Ash Wednesday.  Linda was setting up books on the bookcase up front for our Bookcase Project collection.  I had hauled over several armloads of props to create an intimate worship circle for evening worship in our Gathering Area.  I was rearranging tables and chairs to allow enough space in front of the window for worship.  As I pushed one table well into the corner, I brushed up against the colorful “Let There Be Peace” banner.  My hands lingered there on its texture.  I knew my attention was held then by its randomly placed, overlapping patches of fabric.  A few hours passed, and we were in the midst of the various aspects of prayer that gave shape to our service.  One of those was Mary Oliver’s poem “Praying.”  We experienced her poem with the church’s ancient sacred reading tradition known as Lectio Divina.  In Lectio, a text is read several times with space left in between each reading. Hearers aren’t to analyze the text but rather to notice where their attention goes.  In a group setting, Lectio happens aloud with different readers.  Those present are also invited to speak aloud what they have noticed.  Toward the end of this Lectio, Wilma mentioned and spoke about the word “patch” from Oliver’s phrase “then patch a few words together.”

I have used this poem with Lectio in other groups. I don’t remember patch coming up before.  My attention has never paused there previously.  In that Ash Wednesday moment it did.  I recalled the banner and now the word.  “Patch” glowed in the room with prayerful fullness.  Gratitude’s warmth flowed around me.  We are entering stillness this Lent over and over, noting what rises up through changing facets or patches of stillness.  Will you join us in those patches?  Martha