This poem was written in honor of Reverend Cynthia Bourgeault, Episcopal priest and mystic…
Original posting on Becky’s blog.
On the last day of a week-long Wisdom School with Cynthia in Valle Crucis, North Carolina, we celebrated the Eucharist in an apple barn. Our time in Wisdom School was modeled after the Benedictine Monastic order, and we spent our days praying and working alone and together and honoring the sacred silence in the evenings. The retreat center at Valle Crucis was formerly the very first Anglican monastery in the United States.
At Her Eucharist
Her grey rugged clothes and navy cap
Invite me into priestly authenticity.
There are no robes here tonight
No stained glass or pews.
Just a dimly lit red barn at the bottom of a hill,
A circle of chairs framing a small wooden table
Set with bread and wine, body and blood.
A drum and singing bowl, small bouquet of flowers.
Her hardened hands circle the cup
Calling me to this gift
Asking me to be emptied, to be ready. ”
Leave all things that you have,
Come and follow me.”
The drum is quiet as we stand,
Grows louder as we turn.
Turning and turning, backwards in time.
She holds the bread and speaks to us.
What is this language as we prepare the feast?
A conversation, not a creed
An intimacy, not a routine.
My legs begin to shake as one by one
We make our way to her table
Taking the bread, breaking it in our hands
Lifting the cup, drinking it in our time.
I feel the tears warm my face
As my knees graze the dusty floor,
My interlaced fingers trembling
As I imagine Saint Teresa on the stone
Weeping in her newfound devotion.
In the stillness the moment ceases.
Time is all, all is time.
He is here.
Becky Crigger is a yoga teacher and yoga therapist, as well as a spiritual seeker who finds truth and passion in the many mystical traditions of world religions. She owns a yoga studio in her hometown of Blacksburg, Virginia and is currently discerning a call to the priesthood in the Episcopal Church. Her contact information is available HERE.