The Windows

By Melodious Monk

The Windows

Lord, how can man preach thy eternal word?   
He is a brittle crazy glass;
Yet in thy temple thou dost him afford    
   This glorious and transcendent place,    
   To be a window, through thy grace.

But when thou dost anneal in glass thy story,       
   Making thy life to shine within
The holy preachers, then the light and glory    
More reverend grows, and more doth win;     
Which else shows waterish, bleak, and thin.

Doctrine and life, colors and light, in one     
   When they combine and mingle, bring
A strong regard and awe; but speech alone     
   Doth vanish like a flaring thing,   
    And in the ear, not conscience, ring.                                                      George Herbert

 The first line of this poem indicates that the poet is portraying a preacher as a window to the divine, but I also venture to see all of us Christians, in one way or another, as a piece of this crazy, mysterious, weak, and powerful glass window.

I love the contrast in this poem, the tension between our brokenness, even our craziness, and the profound awe that can come through us. It’s awe inspiring, and a bit frightening, that this piece of crazy brittle glass, or the ones living next door, or the one I just passed in the grocery store, can glisten a light that reverberates with the power of divine eternity. 

When in our ear something of God “rings” for us, something in my bones feels it and hears its silent utterance – in this profound moment I know that something of God is mingling in the air, and inexplicably I am moved forward.  

As a musician, I find our work is searching for the right angle to allow “doctrine and life, colors and light”  to be expressed as one. Pursuing this collaborative “ring” in sound is why we practice, why we strive to create beauty. For, in my own efforts, I don’t accomplish much, and all I have to show for the work is “bleak, and thin.” But if God’s Spirit and ours are mingled as one, our tiny shard of a fiat has the possibility to ring with a “strong regard and awe.”
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About Melodius Monk

I'm 30 years old, and I grew up at the Community of Jesus. My parents moved from Ohio to live at the Community two years before I was born, so with the exception of a few years at college, I’ve lived in the Community my whole life. I became a Novice Brother in 2003, and made my profession as a brother in 2005. Currently I have a pretty varied life as a brother. In addition to daily responsibilities in our liturgies, I cook, sing, play trumpet, and am responsible for various cleaning and maintenance needs in the church building (my favorite jobs is changing the light bulbs at 45 feet!) I also arrange transportation for brothers to various appointments, work on repairing musical instruments, clean the barn, give tours of the church, make the weekly food menu for the Friary, and help out with various other needs as they arise around the Community. Growing up, I was not particularly interested in the religious life, but I met Jesus at an inter-varsity fellowship meeting my second year in college, and that re-directed my life drastically. I feel very fortunate to have found my life’s calling, and the hope for more wholeness is what keeps me on my monastic journey on difficult days.

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