Our service today was wonderful. We had a great sermon (as always), about which I may blog in another day or two. And the daughter of one of my fellow sopranos played a piano piece during communion, while we in the choir were receiving, until we could get back up in the loft for the communion hymns. It was a variation on All in All, and we all had a hard time not humming along. Even though my shoulder hurt bad, after receiving the bread and wine, I so wanted to dance my way back up the aisle to the stairs back up to the loft.
After the piano solo, three of our ladies sang a gorgeous a capella trio. I listened, and then waited at the bottom of the stairs because almost everyone had been fed. Today was my second mentored visit to a parishioner as a Lay Eucharistic Visitor – having the privilege of taking the consecrated elements to a lovely lady who is homebound.
My first visit was in early July, the week before my surgery, and I accompanied a retired Methodist minister to a lady in a nursing home. I remember how her face simply shone as soon as we walked through the door. She had been so thrilled to have visitors, and was even more thrilled to be fed in this way.
It reminded me of one lady at my former parish, where I’d served as a chalice bearer for years. When she would approach the rail, she would smile so broadly. She looked like the proverbial kid in a candy store. “Look! The body of Christ! The blood of Christ – shed for me!” It was such an honor to serve the chalice to her and to see grace flow into her.
At today’s visit, the lady we visited was sweet and was also very happy to see us. She listened to the scripture reading, but then seemed to fade a bit when I offered her the wafer. A caregiver was there with her, and while we started the liturgy, the caregiver bustled about in the next room, but close by, cleaning this and straightening up that. I noticed that she was listening closely as she worked. And when we reached the prayer of general confession, she stopped what she was doing and closed her eyes in prayer, and then joined us in the Lord’s Prayer. I invited her to join us in the communion, and she beamed at me. That’s the only right word for it – her whole face just lit up from within, and her smile was beautiful and joyful, and she knew that this feast was for her every bit as much as it was for the rest of us.
It is easy to come to feel self-important and self-righteous in one’s ministry. But moments like this, of such grace and beauty and light – they are so humbling. Because this ministry is not about me at all. My only job is to step out of the way, to allow my body and mind and heart and soul and entire self to become a vessel, a conduit for the Holy Spirit. And when I can do that, grace happens.
Peace be with you today. I hope that wherever you are, whether you are able to be in a worshipping community or not, that you can find the Feast around you. Because God wants you to be fed, and if you are willing, God will feed you. And when you are willing to step out of your own way, God will feed other people through you, which is a very powerful grace.