On my first full day of vacation, I made my way through the park which separates my home in Prague from the Castle and Cathedral. Walking in a new city between 5:00 and 7:00 am is the way to connect to it’s soul. Tourists are still asleep and their American Breakfast Buffet will keep them at bay for an additional two hours. Kind Czechs will struggle to meet me half way in conversation and will, so early in the day, be fresh, helpful and animated.
There is a short Eucharist in the great cathedral at 7:00 am which was both simple and gentle – sleepy almost as city workers checked their devotion for the day.
Walking in a new city like Prague reminds me of the many citations in scripture referring to the Kingdom of God and the many rooms in the house of God. Each person past whom I walk is a complex physical organism endowed with equally complex webs of experience. I can identify with the conversion experience of Thomas Merton who, at a stop light, became suddenly aware that he loved every person hustling and bustling around him.
To exist in the world with the understanding that we were placed here to love changes how one walks, how one looks at people, how one smiles at people. This understanding also helps to make us patient with people for whom life has been a source of pain or loss for them – and so they, in turn hurt people around them.
How do I love the planet? How do I love the people around me? The only way I know how to love is to be filled with it. To spend time with God is to pull in to the gas-station of love and to re-fuel. I have seen people who are coasting on the fumes of love and do not want that for my life. So I go to a park or sit in a chair and love-load the day as best I can with the assumption that God will disperse it even if I feel too tired to dispense anything much.