This morning's worship is interrupted...

This morning's worship was interrupted by the worship ministry team leader.  As I was about to share the benediction before the final song, Ted stood up and asked if he could make a special announcement.  Mostly I was stunned - this never happens at the close of worship - so I stood to the side quietly with my mouth hanging open while he went to the microphone.  "I hope this is important," I thought to myself wondering why he would do such a goofy thing - and then he asked the congregation to join him in prayer for Dianne and myself as we travel to be with family in the hospital.
"So often you do the caring for us," he said (or something like that), "but now we need to assure you that we will hold you close in prayer and ask the Lord's loving presence while you visit your family."  Then he shared a beautiful and tender prayer for traveling mercies, healing and an abiding sense of God's grace.  Again, I was stunned - not that this isn't a loving and tender group of people (they are) - but for the love of Jesus: this is New England!  We keep that stuff to ourselves, right?!?  And here we were offering loving care and support - in public - in the name of our Living God.

Afterward Dianne said to me, "I was surprised that you weren't weeping..." (my default position when loving things happen).  "Me, too," I thought but I was just too stunned - and grateful - to do anything but simply receive their blessing.  What a tender gift to give a pastor:  to pray for him. And then, just so that I grasped that our hearts really are being united in God's grace, the person serving coffee and tea in our old New England church parlor was one of the street drummers for peace. It blew my mind to see this one time "outsider" performing one of the totally sacred "insider" rites - using the historic silver coffee samovar - with lots of people in assistance.

The saints be praised... as Bobby Dylan once sang, "Some thing's going on all around you and you don't know what it is, do you, Mr. Jones?"  But while Dylan's song was harsh and sarcastic, there was nothing harsh or cruel about today:  just the blessed surprise of grace being resurrected within and among us in healing ways. Like the old school evangelists used to say, "I just had to tell you this because as one hungry beggar to another: I've found a place that's sharing living bread."

Now, off to Maryland... to see my sister in the nursing home and try to help transition my father into a rehab unit until he is strong enough to return to his home.  We'll be back on Thursday - and ready for a jazz gig on Friday at Baba Louie's.  Made me think of this prayer by Paul Simon... we are ALL going to grace-land!

Comments

your videographer said…
You should expect that what goes around comes around, sometimes in the strangest places and sometimes in unusual ways.
RJ said…
and I am always surprised by grace...
Black Pete said…
Just keep your palms up, man. They tend to come in whole full-blown showers, those blessings.

Travelling mercies from Canada.
Luke said…
dude, what a great story! this really cinches the priesthood of all believers sort of thing, everyone working to bless one another and be beacons of grace. blessings on your journey RJ. be well!
RJ said…
Isn't that right, Luke. Totally. It just blew me away - and I am so grateful. Great to hear from you. And you, too, Peter, my man.

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