Monday, April 16, 2012

To Be A Living, Breathing Sacred Word

I may pull the Quran down from the topmost shelf, and sit in silent recitation, but if the Quran cannot be read in the movement of my limbs, the angle of my chin, the way I walk, sit and hold someone's hand, it is as if it had never been written at all.

To be a living, breathing sacred word -- this idea is worth reflection... We are, at our source, a self-disclosure of the Word.

It is the painstaking work of the calligrapher -- an act of worship as much as an art form -- that ignites the creative power of words. I have watched my dear friend Elinor Aishah Holland, as she gently moves her reed across the burnished paper. What if we imagine ourselves as Arabic letters set down by a loving hand? Some of us stand haughty like an alif, some stooped and humble like a dal, some all tied up in knots like a ha. Alone we are of course marvelous, a singular creation. But it is only when letters are connected that they can write out a word. So it is with us. It is only in fellowship that we can write the Word.

Still, connection is not so easy after all. In Arabic, almost every letter must change its shape in multiple ways in order to connect to its neighbor. As Aishah tells me, each letter must find the true proportion that allows it to be both in harmony with the letters around it and in harmony with what is being conveyed. And so it is with us: regardless of where we stand in the play of human fellowship, we have to change to accommodate the flawed and glorious selfhood of our neighbor. We bend a little out of shape, only to realize with a start that this is not a loss after all, but a new beginning, a movement across the borders of ourselves.

Can we come together to activate the sacred Word? The words we create in fellowship are more powerful than any one of us can hope to utter alone. These are the words of the ever-new revelation. These are the words that will change our world.

... Living Out the Sacred Word, Homayra Ziad

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