"Are you at a place where you can come and have breakfast?" Q calls from downstairs.
"Yup. Be right there," I answer. I am just reentering the last of the names into the new Morning Prayer list, after having deleted about a hundred names by accident last night. Oh, well.
This morning is another day. A lovely smell wafts up the stairs and calls me. Fried green tomatoes. Q ripens lots of them by letting them stay on top of the toaster oven, but there are just too many to ripen all of them that way. So you can fry them and eat them. A Geranium Farmer sent me a recipe for green tomato pie, which she says tastes like apple pie. I intend to make one for thanksgiving and not tell my grandchildren what it is until they've tasted it. Hee hee.
It is hard to tear myself away for the computer. A hundred or so people have signed up to say Morning Prayer and answer my "Let us bless the Lord" with a "Thanks be to God." Or vice versa, if they're up before me. I open each one and see the name. Some of them are names I don't know. Some don't give their names. Some email addresses are unrelated to peoples' names, so you can't tell who it is. But each one answers sweetly: Thanks be to God. Thanks be to God. Thanks be to God. Hello. Hello. Blessings.
This is a good addition to the ether, through which billions of emails fly day and night. I get other emails which are not so salutary: one, for instance, from someone I don't know called "Attack," with subject "Hi!"
Think I'll pass. And the temptations to bypass my struggling neighborhood pharmacy and order my drugs cheaply online. Less and less about my penixs -- as they put it -- which is just as well, since I still don't have a penixs.
But prayer flies through it, too. Not just penixes. Blessings fly like the dove we use in Christian art to symbolize the Holy Spirit. I am eager to see what living with this addition to my life of prayer will be like. I think it will be lovely. On days when I don't say Morning Prayer, others will, and I will have their blessing. And I will return the favor when they don't get to it.
"Can't we do an evening one?" someone said yesterday. Not a morning person. Maybe we can. We'll think about how. And whom. Maybe another Geranium Farmer will run it. I'm open to ideas.
In the round of stewardship planning and sermons, church suppers and extra services for Thanksgiving, of preparation for end-of-the year accounting, of Halloween parties and preparations for Advent, of vestry meetings and ordinations of bishops, straight and gay; in the round of prayers for peace and for the safety of the uniformed 19-year-olds so far from their homes this autumn, whose fearful parents remember when they were little ghosts and witches walking up neighbors' sidewalks and wish with all their hearts that they could go back to that time, prayer is what we can do. It's the first thing we can do. It's the best thing we can do, whatever else we can also do. It blesses what we do, sanctifies us in the doing, comforts and protects us from too much despair.
Prayer changes us. In ways we cannot expect. It even changes the world, also in ways we cannot possibly predict. You can do it on the Internet. If the Internet were a part of the Trinity, it would be the Holy Spirit: weaving a bond all around everyone, in and out, everywhere at once and nowhere in particular. The Spirit joins our spirits, one with another, just as the Internet does, only ordered and calm, never anarchic or crazy. No penixes.
The Internet is not part of the Trinity -- too anarchic, too crazy. But it is a part of the world into which the Trinity pours the Spirit. Along with everything else.