Sunday, June 22, 2008

A House of Prayer

From a journal – May 2003

...Rushing to my express bus on Fifth Avenue I glanced up the steps into an unused entrance to Saint Thomas Episcopal Church, a structure I have mentioned before in this journal – (a place where I have gone to pray and mediate and admire the unique massive stone altar piece and stained glass)...

I saw a Muslim engaged in his 4th (?) prayer of the day. He was shoeless – white socks on gray stone – I had seen something like this before, at this same spot, on a cold dark winter night at 5:30 P.M. last winter or one winter ago – one loses track of time here in New York –

...glanced before, at that time, and did not pay much attention to that scene – (did not wish to stare or to intrude on prayer which can be both a public or a private thing). (I was also in a hurry to catch my bus). Later I tried to recollect the scene, reconstruct the scene – but the memory did not fit. Was not reminded of it again until today.

I thought that there were stone saint icons on the side of that locked wooden door area. Today, in less darkness, I noticed the angle of the pray-er’s focus. That focus was not in the direction of the stone statues but on stone support columns – round pillars rising up to typical gothic angle – an arabic angle? – a muslim angle? Which came first, the gothic or the...-

Does not matter. I am reminded of this pray-er and Isaiah’s words. “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations” Those words more than ever are needed today in this world.

God be praised!...