I watch as a woman approaches the communion rail, walking with pain, shifting a cane to the other hand to steady herself and receive communion. What is her story? How did she get here? She endured physical pain. She got up earlier than was comfortable. She arranged for a ride. I am humbled by all the effort that went into getting to this moment.
We sit together in our small group Bible Study, sharing prayers for friends in need and thanksgivings for prayers answered. I look at each person there and know that God is with them; in their pain and in their joys. God is working in each of them and through each of them.
I take communion to a parishioner at home because they are struggling with their health, aging, watching one ability after another slip away. We share prayer needs, speak the Lord’s Prayer, and then take communion together, eating a simple wafer and sipping consecrated wine.
I stand next to a PhD level scientist as we work together in the kitchen. He is in Seattle on a fellowship for several months, working to find new medicines for diseases that afflict the poor. He has come to our meals program for the past five weeks to help wash dishes, and this time he tells me about his family. We talk about how he is keeping in touch with his kids and his wife. His love for them, and his generosity, giving up an evening each week to help feed people, are an inspiration.
I watch a guy, his name is Tom, bring in his bags and put them in a corner of the room at our Community Dinner. I know he’s homeless and I’ve seen him begging at a freeway offramp, and I am always happy to see him. He has a quick smile, even when he seems wet and cold. Sometimes he stays through the meal and helps break down the tables and chairs. Over the past few years, he has become a part of the community.
I watch a child flop down on her knees and place her palms together over the communion rail, waiting for a piece of bread. She barely pauses, eating the bread as she gets up to go. Giving her communion is very special for me. She got up early enough for the Easter Sunrise Service to see another little girl baptized, so that she could decide if that was something she wanted to do. She told her dad that she wanted to be baptized and she answered the questions of the Baptismal Covenant for herself before being baptized on Pentecost.
There are many stories. Each person who comes to St. Dunstan’s Church, whether to eat a meal or help with dishes or attend an AA meeting or share in Holy Communion has a story. These stories are precious. Your story is precious. Sharing our stories is one of the ways we form ourselves to be a congregation and a community.
What’s your story? How did you get here?
Yours in Christ,