These days I don’t get into church service as much as I want to….or at all. I’m in the back with the preschoolers, and it’s good, and necessary, and holy in itself, watching 3 year olds see that they are part of God’s big story, and how He’s always been orchestrating history to make them part of his family, and that even they have a part in this Kingdom living that we talk of. But I am missing corporate worship, and I am missing the weekly partaking in communion.
And so, these days, I listen. I listen to Mumford and Sons I Will Wait over and over and I sing until I am hoarse. And I listen to Florence + the Machine Shake It Off and my heart dances as I sing to shake off the devil on my back. I imagine that we almost could sing this in church.
I read. I slowly read A Circle of Quiet….only a chapter or so at a time. I realize that Madeleine is my Grace and so her book is on my nightstand and has been for almost a year. Not because it isn’t wonderful. But because it is and I don’t want her to leave me just yet.
And I read Kathleen Norris. And Phyllis Tickle. O God, because without you we are not able to please you, mercifully grant us that your Holy Spirit may in all things direct and rule my heart; through Jesus Chrust our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
And Enuma. Enuma my newest friend, who I really think would just love me, and she makes me feel like my shifting in faith isn’t a sign of weakening but strengthening. And we would have brunch. And talk. And my kids would call her Nu-Nu. (But I digress)
I was profoundly aware of God’s presence with me, telling me to be patient and recognize his presence. I sensed that God had not in fact forgotten me or abandoned me; rather he was growing me, transforming me, and preparing me for a new chapter of my life. But I had to find the courage to let go of certain things in my life and to accept the call to move forward, to embrace a new part of me yet to be discovered, and to learn the things of which I was capable. (Reluctant Pilgrim, 102)
And these days I bake bread. I knead it. And I watch it rise. I punch it down again. And watch it rise again. And I cover it with a towel and I leave it, allowing the yeast to make it grow. I gently rub it with olive oil and I stick it in a hot oven and watch the outside darken and bake off hard as the inside gets lighter, and lighter. I knock on the outside when it’s done, and when I hear the hollow echo, I know it’s ready. And I shake it out of its pan and place it on the wooden board to cool for just a few minutes before I cut it open. And when I cut into it, the steam escapes and inside is a beautiful perfection. Little girls scamper to the table for their share…one with soft honey butter, one plain. We bless the food, thanking for what we’ve been given to eat. Thanking for the time we had today. Thanking for the day we will have tomorrow. Then we eat. It nourishes.
Loving God, through your goodness we have this bread and wine to offer, which has come forth from the earth and human hands have made.
May we know your presence in the sharing, so that we may know your touch and presence in all things.
We celebrate the life that Jesus has shared among his community through the centuries, and shares with us now.
Made one in Christ and one with each other, we offer these gifts and with them ourselves, a single, living act of praise.
And I whisper prayers to the Heavens when I clean. I sweat out prayers at the gym. And I feel prayers sneak out the tips of my fingers when I bathe my girls and wash their hair that floats on top of the water in the bathtub. And I know that all things work together for good and I feel the shifting in me. My eyes see a little more each day my part in this Kingdom living. And it is good.