We're having a Holy Eucharist service at St. John's at 6:30 tonight, Thanksgiving Eve, and we expect a pretty good turnout for the holy meal and the pepperoni wafers at a pizza feast afterward. For that reason, and no doubt because of people's holiday errands and travels, no one came to our regular Wednesday noon service.
I had a little homily in my head, inspired by stray dogs and Dickens, that came down to a reflection on the hole we sometimes recognize in our hearts that people, pets, and pizza can't always fill.
A few minutes after noon, realizing I was on my own, I decided to light a candle and say noonday prayers.
When we installed the votive candles and kneeling bench a couple of years ago, some St. John's members donated an icon depicting Mary and her child. As I looked at it, the baby's face was ablaze, his dark eyes fixed on me. I looked harder, and the child's ruddy features seemed to glow even more.
I knelt, said my prayers with what I would describe as renewed intensity, and then looked again. A gracious, circular light, falling through one of the windows in our transept chapel, was migrating south along the wall. Five minutes later, it looked like this, and a moment or two after that, as clouds blocked the sun, it was, for the time being, gone.