One of my favorite things about Sunday mornings is that I have opportunities to notice and welcome church in so many surprising moments. If I take prayerful pauses along the way (usually just a “second breath”) I am actually able to witness many of those moments.
Throughout the halls, classrooms, and sanctuaries of our beautiful building, sacred moments are happening that are the lifeblood of our church. In the back of my mind (or center of my heart?), I’m on a quest to imagine, “What would Jesus do?” and “How can I be a means of grace?” or, as reflected in the title of two 17th century writings now considered contemplative classics, how can I notice “The Sacrament of the Present Moment” and “Practice the Presence of God”?
There are sacred stories happening within each person I pass, and I am called to witness with wonder the deep truth that, in the words of Peter Mayer’s song, everything is “Holy Now.”
(If you haven’t heard it before, click this link for a prayerful treat.)
At the heart of it for me are the mysterious moments when I am especially aware that we are surrounded by a whole host of witnesses to God’s loving grace and share in the sacred soul food in the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper or Holy Communion. While I believe that everything is holy and a part of God’s creation, it seems that I need this special way beyond words that opens the amazing window of God’s grace instituted by Jesus. I am honored and privileged to celebrate Communion weekly at 10:30 am in the Chapel so I might have eyes that truly see. It opens me to remember and experience anew the depths of wonder, and share in that with others in that mysterious, unbounded, beloved community. To me, celebration of the Eucharist is the ultimate WWJD because it helps us discern deeply in those surprise holy moments through the subtle guidance and wise compassion of the Holy Spirit.
For me, it is at the very core of courage and renewal of a community. (For those of you who heard Linda McDermott’s reflections on courage of the heart and Lance Marshall’s reflections on Sabbath renewal last Sunday, I think they relate directly to what happens as we share our brokenness in the Lord’s Supper as we “break bread together on our knees.” (And when we ask ourselves WWJD, clearly, scripture tells us that he said, “Do this in remembrance of me.” — Luke 22:19 & 1 Corinthians 11:24)
Well, it’s almost time for my blog deadline, and actually I’m just getting started on “The Spiritual Practice of Welcoming Prayer and Building Bridges.” So I better wrap this up soon for today.
For now, make a note of this: Monday I discovered that we at FUMCFW have the privilege of hosting a special community event! It is open to people throughout Fort Worth and directly relates to the courage and renewal that can happen when we compassionately welcome diverse views and find unity by building/being bridges in our church and city.
I’ll say more about that next week. But for now, save the date of Monday, June 20, from 5:30 – 7:30 pm for this special gathering at our church. And watch for more info about it soon.
I close here today with one of my favorite prayer-poems about attending to the spiritual practice of welcoming prayer and building/being bridges.
Grace and peace on your journey.
And may your times of summer vacation deepen your courage and sense of vocation (sacred callings).
“Crossing the Threshold”
Many times today I will cross over a threshold.
I hope I will catch a few of those times.
I need to remember that my life is, in fact,
a continuous series of thresholds:
from one moment to the next,
from one thought to the next,
from one action to the next.
Help me appreciate how awesome this is.
How many are the chances to be really alive . . .
to be aware of the enormous dimension
we live within.
On the threshold the entire past
and the endless future
rush to meet one another.
They take hold of each other and laugh.
They are so happy to discover themselves
in the awareness of a human creature.
On the threshold the present breaks all boundaries.
It is a convergence,
a fellowship with all time and space.
We find You there.
And we are found by You there.
Help me cross into the present moment —
into wonder, into Your grace:
that “now-place,” where we all are,
unfolding as Your life moment by moment.
Let me live on the threshold as threshold.
— Gunilla Norris