The Word, the Table, and the Body

Last Sunday I needed the Body of Christ. I needed the deep traditions of the Church to carry me. I was away from home, my dad had just passed, a hard week lay ahead.

I found a small Episcopal Church and went to their first service. It was a small group of folks who were deep in the faith. The liturgy was what I needed to ground me and allow me to walk in my grief. This is the beauty of the Body of Christ and the deep traditions of the Church. They are familiar. The liturgy is the base note of the rhythm of our lives. The liturgy brings me home. Home was what I needed that day.

The ancient paths of the Church have a way of settling me. I have discovered those steady patterns allow me to walk in a way where I can consistently hear the Spirit and know the Lord is walking the path with me.

There is the reading of the Word. This week’s reading in their lectionary had the NT passage in Revelation. In one portion was the vision of the river of life running through the city of God. The tree of life with its leaves for the healing of the nations lined the banks of the river. The Spirit called to me. My dad had healing. His broken body and broken mind were healed in by the tree of life.

There is the reading of the Nicene Creed. As I read those words, tears filled my eyes. The depth of conviction in my faith filled my soul. How I loved God, the Father, the Almighty. How I loved my Lord Jesus Christ. How I long for his return and the understanding that his Kingdom shall have no end. How I loved the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life!

How I love the one holy catholic and apostolic Church! They were helping me walk in my grief even though this little group didn’t know it! THIS is the faith.

If I am grieving, I can find home. If I am rejoicing, I can find home. If life is just puttering along, I can find home. I can come to the Table and partake in his holy presence through the bread and the cup. What a glorious privilege!

Through those days when I was losing my dad as his life slipped away, I was sustained by the closer Body I knew. They prayed. They sent me prayers. They constantly texted and called and checked in.

On that Sunday after my dad’s passing, the wider Body of Christ, a small group that didn’t know me, folded me in and through the worship of the Church brought comfort and healing and peace. It is not just “my” faith. It is the faith delivered once for all to the saints and it carries me.

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