There is a song that I, along with the rest of the congregation, have been singing in Sunday services during this Lenten season. We sing this same song as a response song during a Wednesday Lenten contemplative service. The repeating refrain is “Lord, have mercy on us.”
When it comes time to sing it, I cry. Not a bawling out loud cry, but a weeping of the heart. Tears come, but there is a deeper weeping that wants noticing. It is a weeping that hurts. It hurts my insides. My chest aches, my throat tightens, and my belly stirs. Sometimes, my words are whispered spasms as they reflect the responses of my body. And sometimes, I must simply be silent and allow my body to do all the praying.
It seems that my body knows its need for mercy and cries out in its own bodily way. There is a kind of head knowledge that knows about mercy and the need for it. But the body, my body, experiences this need in a physical way and invites me to notice it, to give it space, to welcome its cry.
As I welcome my body’s cry for mercy, I am reminded that these groaning and wordless moments belong to the Holy Spirit. There is no need for words because the Spirit will express for me what I am unable to say. This is praying in the Spirit. This is praying in the body. Body and Spirit praying. It is the place where heaven and earth touch. A sacred space. A thin place. A body and Spirit place.