Sunday, 1 May 2011

Thin day for pictures.

 I was given this cute little watering can today ... or should that be a "watering can't"?  Made from felt with a delightful ladybird on a daisy it is such a pretty container and will be used to hold my phone and small camera when I'm out and about in the garden.  There's less chance of setting them down somewhere and then forgetting them.
 It wasn't of any particular interest to the dog after he'd had a quick sniff and determined that it did not contain chocolate!  Nor could he be persuaded to come over to investigate it so that I might get a picture.  Eliot has a stubborn streak!
 If he decides that he's not looking around ... then you can call his name all you like ... but he's not going to give you so much as a quick glance!
This is the first Sunday of the month and so we have the main Parish Communion service.  This is my favourite time when we handle mysteries so deep that it is an awesome privilege.  To be invited to share at the Lord's table where there is total acceptance and love without limits leaves you speechless in adoration.
The words of the Great Thanksgiving are so powerful and fresh every time you say them ... "in your love and mercy you freed us from the slavery of sin ..."  "... that he may dwell in us and we in him...".  Here are thoughts so profound that take us into a heavenly realm where the things of this world fade and we become so conscious of Christ and his death and resurrection.
During today's service we sang the simple words of "Be still and know that I am God ... ".  Deceptively simple.  Because somehow in that stillness and silence God speaks.
I love the Presbyterian tradition of a service of preparation for Holy Communion.  A whole evening is set aside to prepare one's heart for the great event that is to happen.  You do not come lightly to the Lord's Table ... yet you come willingly, eagerly and with childlike trust and anticipation.
So, before we approach there is time to prepare ... to reflect on what it is that we are doing and to anticipate what it is that God will do.
Then, at the rail, we pause to remember his death, to celebrate his rising and to anticipate his return.  "Too soon we rise" and return to our seats ... but we do so as changed men and women.  We have received the body and blood of our Saviour.  Even in giving out the bread and wine there is a sense of awe as we handle holy things...
So afterwards ... with full hearts we pause to reflect, to let our Lord's words sink deeply into our souls ... to allow his healing work to take effect.  Then, as the music stops, the activity at the Holy Table ceases, a great hush descends ...
This is the Great Silence ... a sacred, awe filled moment, when the enormity of it all has a chance to stir our hearts.  It is a time so sacred that you're almost afraid to move or breathe lest you disturb the work of God's Holy Spirit among the people of God.
The Book of Common Prayer describes it in the rubric as "... silence for reflection."  It is often in these moments that God's work in our lives is most clearly experienced.  Often it happens in ways that are beyond description ... a person knows that he or she has spoken with God "face to face" and will remember that time for the rest of their lives.  Frequently it is a healing moment when deep hurts are cured or physical needs met.
I wonder sometimes if we've lost something of the sense of awe ... an awareness of the "holy" ...?  Do we treat too lightly our encounter with God ... ?



Breathe in me, O Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy.

Act in me, O Holy Spirit, that my work, too, may be holy.
Draw my heart, O Holy Spirit, that I love only what is holy.
Strengthen me, O Holy Spirit, to defend all that is holy.
Guard me so, O Holy Spirit, that I may always be holy.
Amen. 

7 comments:

ROBERTA said...

intriguing photos as usual...what a smart idea of having a place to put your phone when you're outside...today i drove past a field i've passed 100 times before. hadto turn around to see if i had seen what i thought i had seen. someone went to a lot of trouble by coloring the tops of teasley weeds in neon colors - like easter eggs!!! i love surprises like that:)

Kelly said...

"Mysteries so deep...", how perfectly stated! I filled in for our organist at church today and our communion hymn was "Let Thy Blood in Mercy Poured" - I cannot sing it for weeping and of course had to keep it together at the organ! If there was nothing else but the Eucharist, it would be enough.

How clever about the teasel fields you mentioned, Roberta! There are little gifts to be seen everywhere.

Rev Elizabeth said...

Roberta .... did you take photograph????? sounds such a cute idea.
"It would be enough"... yes ... it would be enough!

lesleyc said...

Does Eliot sometimes situate himself near an object you're looking likely to photograph so that he gets a photo taken in which he looks cool and disinterested but actually he's thinking the picture would be 'nothing' without him in it?

I know one dog who, when his owner shouts 'photo', turns toward the camera and poses in a fine doggy stance.

Rev Elizabeth said...

Hi Lesley ... quite the opposite. When Eliot sees a camera he get up and moves to a point where you can't really get a picture. He needs to be distracted by something else or he tries hard to avoid the camera. Outside it slightly less of a problem ... but indoors it is very hard to get a good picture of him.

lesleyc said...

Hello Elizabeth,

Well then we're lucky to see photos of him at all! My guinea pigs scatter when they see me with a camera and if I do sneak a shot the camera noise scares them silly.

Holy Communion also aquired a new dimension for me when I read of of Dietrich Bonhoeffer who said he liked to think of all the Christians in the world who were also sharing in the body and the blood with him.

ROBERTA said...

Yes, I did take the photo and people who've seen it think it's a real plant! Of course I did post that it was native to our area and only bloomed after Easter but my tongue was planted firmly in my cheek!!!!!!!!!!!!