Thursday, July 9, 2009

Heading Home

Before I left for General Convention two weeks ago I had the pleasure of con-celebrating a home Eucharist with the Rev. Sue Scott. That was not the plan.

It was one of the most grace-filled moments of my ministry (my whole ministry). I always found Sue to be a delightful person, a caring person, a creative person and my experience that day was no different.

The plan had been to take her communion. Ann and I arrived at Sue and Ron's lovely home to find Sue sitting up and visiting with Martha. We joined the conversation, Ron the consummate host offering tea and water on the 106 degree day.

During the conversation we talked about how wonderful the people of Trinity and Good Shepherd had been both in their visits and attentiveness to bring her communion regularly. I thanked them both for allowing me to come and visit. It was in this moment that Ron and I giggled about how communed Sue was, and he offered that it would be wonderful for Sue to celebrate one more time for a host of friends and family.

You know me, I just blurted out, not thinking really of the profound meaning or moment to come, saying that maybe Sue could con-celebrate with me. What an honor that would be!

Sue is known for her profound gifts of love given freely and shared with everyone she ministered to. So, it seemed like a real gift for me.

However, it was in that moment of celebration, of the words of institution, memorial acclamation, and eppiclesis that I was moved at the deepest level. Realizing my presence in that moment as icon of the church I was touched in my soul by the participation of the whole church and its presence in that room with Sue as she continued the service by giving me communion first. All her family and friends were present in that moment, as a friend used to say: all the saints of God where in that home filling the house wall-to-wall.

I have reflected on this moment repeatedly over the last two weeks. Each time, even now in writing this, I am tearful. What a holy moment that was...and in that moment...the recognition of God's love for each of us profoundly and freely given in his son Jesus Christ and in the action of breaking the bread.

I am heading home, writing this in the airport. It was a good thing to be welcomed into the home by Sue and Ron. Sue is home now. It is good to go home to that place where nothing separates us from the love of God. I am grateful, as priest, bishop, as a Christian for Sue's witness of Jesus' love for us. I am heading home. We are all heading home. Blessed is the journey home, and grateful are we for the saints along the way.

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  • "Christianity is not a theory or speculation, but a life; not a philosophy of life, but a life and a living process." Samuel Taylor Coleridge
  • "Most people are willing to take the Sermon on the Mount as a flag to sail under, but few will use it as a rudder by which to steer." Oliver Wendell Holmes
  • "Perfection, in a Christian sense, means becoming mature enough to give ourselves to others." Kathleen Norris
  • "Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can." John Wesley
  • "The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried." G. K. Chesterton
  • "One of our great allies at present is the Church itself. Do not misunderstand me. I do not mean the Church as we see her spread out through all time and space and rooted in eternity, terrible as an army with banners. That, I confess, is a spectacle which makes our boldest tempters uneasy. But fortunately it is quite invisible to these humans." C. S. Lewis
  • "When we say, 'I love Jesus, but I hate the Church,' we end up losing not only the Church but Jesus too. The challenge is to forgive the Church. This challenge is especially great because the church seldom asks us for forgiveness." Henri Nouwen, Bread for the Journey
  • "Christians are hard to tolerate; I don't know how Jesus does it." Bono
  • "It's too easy to get caught in our little church subcultures, and the result is that the only younger people we might know are Christians who are already inside the church." Dan Kimball