Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Physician Priest at our Door

just a flimsy plastic cup . . . . and we received.

            This past Sunday started out like most of our Sundays over the past ten months or so.
No public church service.
No Holy Communion.

Husband is up, like clockwork, about eight. Daughter is up soon after. I am up anywhere from four a.m. until 11 a.m., depending on the ole Restless Legs Syndrome and/or prescribed medications.
            All week, every week, I’m it: cook, chief bottle-washer, chauffeur. I must be up early most days to get one or another of us to one or another appointment, mostly medical and to keep our bodies and souls together.
            Every Saturday night I say to myself,Self, we WILL get up in the morning and make it to church.”
            On the Saturday night before every First Sunday, I say to me, “ME, now let’s pray.” As the shower stings my back with hot, healing water, I beg, “Holy Father, we so need to receive Communion. It is offered tomorrow at our church. Please help me to wake up, be alert, and have energy to dress, and to get the three of us ready and into the car in time to worship.”
            I am certain that He hears my prayers even as the noise of the shower drowns out my wails, cries, pleas, and thanksgivings. I cannot provide an answer as to why my prayers are not answered… in the way I desire!! I don’t know why, even with deep, fervent praying, that my legs get crazier on Saturday nights than most other nights. I have not a clue as to why my body/mind/spirit seems to collapse when I finally get a day to rest. I crave worship with other believers. I ache to lift my voice in song with a choir and a piano and an organ. I hunger after communion.
            Oh my, yes, I am positive that the love of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior never leaves me….whether I physically get TO a church or whether I receive communion every day, once a year, or not at all.
He left instructions for me to pray.
He left instructions for me to gather together to worship.
He left instructions for me to eat the bread and drink the wine.
Until He comes again.

There is something connective/life sustaining/soul enlarging when I:
            Lift my voice in song in His Sanctuary
            Greet and hug and bless other believers
            Kneel at the altar beneath His rugged cross
            Eat the broken bread and drink the red wine.

Well. Don’t you know??? Life changes. Things happen.

I try to remember that I keep life and soul and heart in order when I:

  •  sing in my car.
  •  pray in my shower or when resting in the green chair in my sun room.
  •  praise as I load the dishwasher or fold clothes fresh out of the dryer.
  •  cook healthy meals and serve up interesting plates.
  •  drive Daughter to School for Disabled Adults and we talk.
  •  pile Husband into the car for an outing.
  •  dig in the dirt and watch plants thrive.
  •  prepare communion for God’s helpless hummingbirds all summer: by the gallons: fill and re-fill.
Then this past Sunday afternoon, our church saw our need.

The young woman knocked on our door.
        She was not in robes.
              Not an ordained minister.
Several years ago she was our family physician. Her knowledge and touch healed our bodies.
After that, we were friends, greeting each other with hugs.

This Sunday afternoon one of her three daughters comes, too. "Seven years old, almost eight,” the child whispers, dark blond hair falling over beautiful eyes.

         The mother / physician / friend / servant carries only a small black box. She sits on our couch. “Bear with me.” She smiles. “This is my first time to serve our Lord’s Meal.”
          She reads John 3:16.                                            
She prays.      
            We join hands, around our stained, scarred, beat-up, 30-year-old coffee table.
            We lift our voices TOGETHER in the old-fashioned words of His Prayer.
                        Our Father, who art in heaven……
     Kristi hands my husband a tiny crumb of bread.
            “Gus, this is the Body of Christ, broken for you.”
      Then she gives him a plastic cup…the kind of cup a nurse gives you filled with pills.
       With a medicine dropper, our Doctor ‘poured’ wine into the tiny cup.
            “Gus, this is the blood of Christ, shed for you.”
His fingers, stiff with age and arthritis struggles to get the tiny piece of bread to his mouth and the tiny, flimsy plastic cup to his lips.
            Then the crumb of bread and sip of wine to Liz.
                        And to my daughter, Melinda.

Our friend says a prayer and we all say, “Amen.”
           Tears wet my face; I thank Kristi.
She hugs each of us. She smiles. “I’ll come every First Sunday. And I’ll bring a different daughter each time.”

This past Sunday
            there was no Silver Chalice.
            no linen cloth covered a loaf of bread.
            the organ did not ring out the Doxology.
            the Cross did not sparkle with sanctuary lights
Our Priest did not wear a robe.

Yet, our family received.
            We worshipped
                        We ate the bread.
                              We drank the wine.                                                 

                                    We gave thanks            

It is well with my soul.
May it also be well with you.

    With love,

                                                                                                               Luke 22:19-20
He took bread, gave thanks
and broke it, and gave it to them, saying,
“This is my body given for you;
do this in remembrance of me.”
 In the same way, after the supper
he took the cup, saying,
 “This cup is the new covenant in my blood.
 which is poured out for you.