Thursday, August 11, 2011

Scripture and a Snapshot - "Only Say the Word..." - Reflections on Communion

Statue of Saint Francis of Assisi, Mission Renewal Center
Santa Barbara CA 

Every day for two weeks, I said these words.
And every day, the tears came.
The words are simple, clear, plain.
Their cry is elemental, a cri de coeur, 
yet in them are two of the foundational 
truths of my life as a follower of Jesus.

The first is this:
I am indeed not worthy to receive the gift
offered me with this small thin wafer,
this tiny sip of watered wine.
Such simple things which somehow become
a miracle of sorts, a small wonder received
in and through my eating,
my drinking.
And I am not worthy as I stand before the priest, 
hands cupped, heart open.
This is the truth of the matter: 
I am a sinner, saved by grace.
One whom Jesus loves,
simply because I am.
There is nothing I can do to make myself worthy,
there is nothing required except a bowed head,
an acquiescent spirit,
a repentant heart,
a quiet, 'amen.'
Oh, how good it is to remember this!
How good it is to be reminded 
that I need only to receive my Lord,
not impress, convince, defend, or otherwise earn the blessing.

And the second truth is like unto the first:
by the word of God, I am healed.
I am declared worthy.
I am seen, I am heard, I am forgiven, I am loved...
by the Word of our God.
"Only say the word..."
And the Word spoke -
spoke the universe into being,
spoke humanity into flesh and blood,
 spoke salvation and hope and healing
for every single one of us born on this blue planet.

And the Word speaks to me
in this bread, this cup.
The Word speaks -
a word of welcome,
of invitation,
of recognition,
of Love.

I am healed.
Glory be to God.

I keep thinking 'normal' will return any day now. 
     I barely got unpacked from two weeks at the Mission Renewal Center when we started packing again for a long-planned family vacation - we arrived at our 'home' (read MANSION) for the next 10 days about six hours ago - 13 of us here now, 2 more coming tomorrow evening. For the first time in many years of gatherings such as these, our eldest grandson will not be with us, as he begins at Chapman University next week and is doing some last minute visiting with good friends and then moving into his wonderful new apartment in old-town Orange CA. We'll miss him, but this is how it should be when you are 20 years old, right?
     Eventually, I will tell you about our time together here on the northern CA coast. But this crazy week, I am still sifting through all that happened at the mission and wanting to capture bits of it here and there. I keep coming back to the worship we shared, so that's what you've got a little piece of tonight. I am too late for 2 of my favorite links (Graceful and Finding Heaven) and a tad early (or late) for the one in the title. But LL keeps her link live most every day and Emily and Ann are open today, so... here goes, with thanks for their kind hospitality:

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