A Sunrise Sacrament

image by Rebekah Choat

image by Rebekah Choat

I keep communion out of doors —
a sunrise sacrament —
in attendance:  just myself,
a cardinal celebrant,
a mourning dove
murmuring devotion reverent,
and out of sight, a mockingbird
singing a glad accompaniment.

~ Rebekah Choat


Out of the Sea

Small as a world, this smooth round stone
you gave to me, and large as alone,
and grey as the sea it rolled in from,
hurled on the shore to be brought home.

Within its sphere are foam and sky
and bite of salt and seagull’s cry
and height of wave and stretch of sand,
and here I hold it in my hand.

It sings a song of tideswept stars
and deeps where untold wonders are.
It keeps the memory of the wind
and brings me whispers of a friend.

I can’t be lost — it anchors me,
this smooth round stone out of the sea.

~ Rebekah Choat



I had the sacramental experience this morning of opening a new book (The Singing Bowl) written by a dear friend (Malcolm Guite). I have no doubt that it was a holy moment, but the meticulous English teacher part of my brain insisted on being completely sure that sacramental was an acceptable and appropriate word to use. So I consulted my friends Merriam-Webster and the OED, and they backed me up.

A sacrament is ‘a thing of mysterious and sacred significance.’ I believe a brand new book, never read before, written by someone I love is most certainly a thing of mysterious significance. Even knowing the poet, even having heard some of the poems before, does not diminish the mystery of what may lie hidden here. (Mystery, by the way, is ‘something secret, strange, difficult or impossible to understand or explain’ and also ‘truth that is unknowable except by divine revelation.’) And sacred means, at its simplest, ‘connected with God,’ which Malcolm’s work undoubtedly is.

Malcolm, through his words, shows us images of a life lived in the sacred mystery, and shares what glimpses he has caught of the God with whom we are connected, the God-with-us in our deepest darkness drawing us into light.