15 April 2012

Picture of Grace

Communion today. We sing hymns and check that K. is behaving herself in the choir loft and wait for the usher to motion us from our seat. Hubby stands up slowly, burdened with fast-asleep A. We walk up the aisle to kneel at the altar. “The body of Christ, given for you.” A moment, a prayer, a walk back to our seat near the back of the church. Singing, or staring off into space, waiting for the end of communion. The line up front dissipates, the last communicants file back to their seats, the ushers begin to tidy the altar area.

The pastor walks swiftly back the aisle, holding the vessel containing the Communion wafers. I’ve never noticed him do this before. He is tall and thin, in white robes with a white-and-gold stole for Easter. He stops at the very back pew, in front of a small old lady with white hair. Her shoulders are hunched forward as she sits. She does not raise her head. He bends down, down, to look her in the eye. I cannot hear him, of course, but I know what he’s saying. “The Body of Christ, broken for you. The Blood of Christ, shed for you.” The Body of Christ, hand-delivered personally, while the organ plays and the congregation readies itself for the final blessing and closing hymn. She cannot come forward to receive the bread and wine. But it comes to her anyway. She is valued, in her infirmity and in her old age. Valued, even cherished, enough that the leader of a large congregation takes those few extra minutes to bring Christ to her. To bend down, look her in the eye, and tell her that God loves her.

We cannot reach to the God of the Universe under our own power. So the Body of Christ comes to us. Personally, hand-delivered. Even when we cannot raise our head to look him in the eye. He bends down to touch our weary hearts, to tell us, “You are valuable to me. I give my all for you.”

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