Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Church... Whatever you need it to be

Tuesday greetings!  Hope everyone is doing well and keeping dry and cheerful on this gloomy Tuesday afternoon. 

The past week or so has been one of those filled with ups and downs.  I am sure you all know what I mean when I say that.

So it all started last Monday when I attended a funeral service.  It was a very beautiful and moving service as everyone gathered to remember and celebrate the life of a truly wonderful person.

This past weekend, I attended a wedding.  Another beautiful and moving service as everyone gathered to celebrate the new life of these two wonderful people.

It is ironic that the same language can be used to describe two different events.

At both services, people gathered to celebrate someone.  There were tears and laughter, smiles and hugs, stories and memories were shared, and God was there.

Another similarity between the two services was that they were both held in the same place. 

That is a wonderful example of what the church is. 

It is a place where you can go to mourn the loss of someone and remember their life. 

But also be able to go back and celebrate the sacrament of marriage.

One of my favorite shows is Scrubs.  If you are not familiar with the show it takes place in Sacred Heart Hospital.  Now it is not like those other doctor shows you might be thinking of (E.R. or Grey’s Anatomy), if you take that but add in some slap stick humor, dry humor, and a lot of day dreams you would be close.

In one of the episodes, one of the long time well loved characters passes away after being in an accident.  In the same episode, another one of the main character’s baby is born. 

For most of the episode, he tries to hide the fact that his child was born on that day.  He was afraid that the death of a friend would forever be associated with the birth of his daughter.

Of course since it is a TV show, things do not work out according to his plan and everybody learns about the birth of his child.

As he rounds the corner and is about to face everyone, he is only expecting to receive a few half-hearted congratulations because everyone would be mourning the inevitable passing of their dear friend.

Instead, there is just pure joy celebrating the new life of his daughter. 

This past week I had the chance to gather at Calvary Episcopal Church twice to celebrate.

Both were beautiful services.  We shared the peace.  We broke bread.  We came together in the sacrament of Communion.  And we celebrated.  As one in Christ.  That is what the church is…

It is whatever we need it to be at that time.  At both of these services we celebrated Communion. 

In the Book of Common Prayer for Eucharistic Prayer C, the language used is so beautiful and fitting that it would be an injustice to change it or alter.

Open our eyes to see your hand at work in the world about us.  Deliver us from the presumption of coming to this Table for solace only, and not for strength; for pardon only, and not for renewal.  Let the grace of this Holy Communion make us one body, one spirit in Christ, that we may worthily serve the world in his name.

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