Heard the World Sing

Mostly, I am reluctant to write about religion as a subject and in the end I may end up not writing about religion here.  Quietly, I feel I probably agree in some respects at least with Anne Rice, as recently heard on BBC Radio 4’s Something Understood – her conversion away from Christianity. However,  a couple of weeks ago, again prompted by BBC Radio, – this time Outlook on the World Service -, I started to think about sharing some thoughts of mine.

The presenter, at the end of a piece that investigated the science and mystery of sand dunes in the desert singing, invited comments.

Now, I can’t offer having heard sand dunes singing, but what I was immediately reminded of was – how I heard the world sing.

25 years ago now, the sound still echoes: I was staying in Jerusalem, in a hostel run by Catholic nuns, my room overlooking the roof terrace and I was woken one morning by the call to prayer to the Mosque next door;  the beauty of the sound, the longing it expressed went right through me and settled.  I know nothing about the Mosque, have never been inside and know nothing about the Call – not even whether it was recorded or live when it came through the loudspeaker near me. Yet, from where I was, visiting Jerusalem, more as a researcher than a pilgrim, I sensed with every fibre: There – was Truth. I did not become a Muslim: As I woke, listening included a live sense of the paradox that I heard this Call, as it were, from the Catholic hostel. It seems that is where I am most at home: In the breath – or the sound – of the paradox that allows to breathe.

Some time later, I visited Neve Shalom, the pioneering village between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, where Jews and Arabs live together peacefully.

The founder, the late Dominican priest Bruno Hussar, a secular Jew and engineer by background, had built a small meditation hall then at the edge of the village – with a large window overlooking the valley and – no religious symbols. A place to breathe the world in and out…


~ by Barbara S on July 20, 2017.

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