That Which Holds All

by Nancy Shaffer

Because she wanted everyone to feel included in her prayer,
she said right at the beginning several names for the Holy:
“Spirit,” she said. “Holy One, Mystery, God.”

But then thinking these weren’t enough ways of addressing THAT which cannot fully be addressed… she added Particularities.
“Spirit of Life,
Spirit of Love,
Ancient Holy One,
Mystery We Will Not EVER Fully Know, Gracious God,”

And also “Spirit of this Earth,
God of Sarah,

And then, tongue loosened, she fell to naming superlatives as well:
“Most Creative One,
Greatest Source,
Closest Hope”
— even though superlatives for the Sacred seemed to her probably redundant;

But then she couldn’t stop:
“One Who Made the Stars,”  she said,
(although she knew technically a number of those present didn’t believe the stars had been made by anyone or anything but just luckily happened.)

“One Who Is an Entire Ocean of Compassion,” she said, and no one laughed.

“That Which Has Been Present Since Before the Beginning,” she said, and the
room was silent.

Then although she hadn’t imagined it this way, others began to offer names.
“Peace,” said one.
“One My Mother Knew,” said another.
“Ancestor,” said a third.
“Breath,” said one near the back.
“That Which Holds All.”
A child said, “Water.”
Someone said, “Kuan Yin.”
Then “Womb. Witness. Great Kindness. Great Eagle. Eternal Stillness.”

And then, there wasn’t any need to say the things she’d thought would be important to say.

And everyone sat hushed until someone said “Amen.”