Musings of My Mind

"To a great mind, nothing is little." Sherlock Holmes

Month: November, 2014

On Bearing the Chalice

Since my first Sunday at St. Bartholomew’s, I’ve wanted to be “one of those people helping.” Not long into my journey into Episcopalianism, I learned that those people are actually referred to as Lay Eucharistic Ministers. They are the people that help the Verger help the Priest, especially in the serving of the Eucharist. I knew that I wanted the opportunity to serve, but I also knew that I didn’t need to jump into service while I was adjusting to a new town and a new faith tradition.

Fast forward to a year later, when I’ve officially been confirmed as a member of St. B’s and the Worldwide Anglican Communion. I felt like I was ready to volunteer and so I took all the steps necessary to become a LEM. Yesterday was my third time serving and I am still overwhelmed by the power of it all.

It’s one thing to be in the sanctuary, to be sitting next to the Priests and other LEMs, watching the congregation from under the cross. It is another thing to be within arm’s reach of the elements during the preparation of the Eucharist. As I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, watching the Celebrant as he prepares the bread and wine; saying words of blessing and remembrance; is easily my favorite part of the service. I love watching the communion (literally) between Celebrant and God, between the heavenly and earthly realms. Getting to watch that up close is soul-filling.

But the part that takes my breath away every single moment is being able to serve the chalice. I become a part of the Eucharist is such a profound and special way. I am taken out of myself and become the hands of the Lord. It is through me that my fellow parishoners hold out their hands and ask for the Cup of Salvation. I use all my strength trying not to cry with every person I serve. The honor of being allowed to offer the words “This is the blood of Christ; the Cup of Salvation” is overwhelming. Though horridly unworthy, I have still been allowed to participate. Like the servants at the wedding in Cana; I know that Jesus does not need me to serve his salvation to the members of St. B’s; but, like the servants, He is allowing me to help Him because of what it does for me.

I come face to face with myself each time I serve someone else. In their eyes I see my own set of worries, fears, hopes, and needs. We all come to the table with something, and we all leave carrying the fruit of redemption. May I be worthy of the task set before me and may be all feel within us the power of Christ, given to us through the Bread and Wine.

On Saints and Orphans

The day after Halloween is known throughout the Christian world as All Saints’ Day. It’s a day that, among other things, we remember our brothers and sisters who have gone before us into glory. We remember the martyrs, the saints, and this year, we remember my mother.

This Sunday also happens to be Orphan Sunday, when we are reminded that adoption is the Gospel. Christ made a family out of a bunch of sinners, and there are those of us called to follow in his footsteps and make a beautiful family out of pieces. Today, I was an orphan. I know this sounds dramatic, but when you have no living parents, you are an orphan. While I will never know what it is like to grow up in foster care, wondering if I would ever have a home to call my own; I will live the rest of my life motherless and fatherless.

It’s still a weird thing to wrap my head around. Being an orphan, even at 30, comes with an odd feeling of transience. My roots have been ripped out of the ground and tossed aside. I belong nowhere, and no place is my home. Though there are friends and people who love me like family there, Kentucky is no longer home. It has ceased to be the place where my mom lives and is instead the place where my mom rests. I am a child who lived as a nomad for the first ten years of my life and though I have no intention of moving any time soon; I have become a nomad once again.

The transition has been harder at times than others. Some days, I still want to call her and tell her all about whatever stupid thing I did or the ridiculously hot new guy I’ve just met. (She would not have like that last part.) Most days, I think of her in pain and am thankful she is no longer bound by the limits of a fallen world.

Today, as we sang for the saints, I sobbed my way through verses about freedom and rest. I am an orphan and yet I am surrounded by the saints who have gone before me. By Mary, the Mother who had to watch her child suffer. By my Grandmother, who taught all the women in my family how to be tough as nails and soft as silk at the same time. By my mother, who only in her last days made a choice that was better for her than it was for me. I am alone and yet stand in community with believers across time and space.

O blest communion, fellowship divine!

We feebly struggle, they in glory shine;

Yet all are one in thee, for all are thine.