What it Takes to Get to the Altar

The holiest half-hour of my week, when the profundities of God rain down into my head, is when I’m hoping to administer communion to God’s people at the altar rail. This week, a middle-aged woman faltered up to the rail; I could tell, though she didn’t look injured, that it was a feat for her to get herself to the rail – she gladly expended significant effort to come and receive life-giving bread.
I began to pray as I pronounced to each person, “the body of Christ, the bread of Heaven.” I prayed for what these dear, faithful people faced in order to get themselves and their loved ones to Jesus’ altar, to his living Body and Blood.
A sister congregation lost two whole families in a plane crash last weekend; well-publicized – and many more not-well-publicized – court case verdicts came in; someone left a marriage or a home; someone got very bad medical news.
Years ago, friend of mine posted quotation that (in my better moments) I try to keep in mind, “Be gentle with everyone, for you do not know what load they are carrying.”
Our sufferings in this life are many, but our medicine is the same – God’s love through Christ’s broken body.

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