Praise the Lord with timbrel and dance. Praise him with stringed instruments and flutes. (Psalm 150:4)
This scripture is sung every Sunday in Lauds in praise of God our creator. All winter and spring after Compline at the end of the day, I did what I nicknamed a “Holy Dance” with the other non-Benedictine sister who sings services with us; she lives in a house in the Beguinage courtyard right next to the church. She belongs to a different religious order and I am not sure where her home community is; not too far as she visits from time to time and is missed at services. This sister sits across from me in the choir, on the other side, for the antiphonal chant singing. Since both of us are not the order of Benedictine sisters here at the Beguinage, we process at the end of the line as we leave the altar daily after Compline. At first, all we did was smile at each other as she only speaks Nederlands and I spoke none! But…it is amazing how friendly you can become with just a smile when you meet 7 times a day and sing the same chants and go to the same Mass and say the rosary together. Truth to tell, I know nothing about her other than we are both on the same journey to become closer to our God, but we are definitely friends/pilgrims along the same road. She along with one of our sisters tend to the candles lit and offered for prayers, a tradition in Catholic churches. The small proceeds from the candles help pay for the heating and needs of the church. These candles get a lot of care here in St. Elizabeth`s church; they are kept organized in very precise rows for the visitors to choose a size for their prayer and offering. The candles are then tended and moved to always keep blessed rows of flickering. No random assignments for these candles! If there are too many for the spaces, some are moved in to the vestry in front of the Mary Statue to flicker their last flame. I am sure the order blesses all who come to light a candle for their important intention /prayer. At night in the winter, this sister wore a jacket (ours are on the clothes tree in the vestry) which she always had with her at her choir seat. As we processed out to the vestry for the closing hymn to Mary, she brought the jacket with her to be lain on the chair in the first row of the congregation. We did a ‘do si do’ as we say in English, exchanging places in the line as she put her jacket on the chair. (I don’t think anyone noticed as we are the last in the procession.) I named it our Holy Dance — Heilig Dans. I rather miss it now that it is summer and no jackets are needed.