Discernment, Ministry, Mystic Sweet Communion

Crumbs on the Carpet

This morning was in many ways painful. I am still feeling quite sad, but comforted by the kind words of your comments.

The usual kick in the pants from Beyond came last night when I was moping about on the couch and Pure Luck asked about my sermon. I admitted it wasn’t quite done. He asked what it was about, hoping to help me get going on it. So I told him about it. Earlier in the week, I read something really useful about the wise and foolish virgins and the theology of delay and planned a sermon about living in the meantime, when you have a hope for something big and world-altering, but have to go on living day to day along the way.

And a little inner bird perched on my shoulder daintily cleared her throat. "Ahem." 

Oh, allright. I have to do the same thing. I get it.

So, in the meantime, we had Communion today. I wrote not long ago about the decision by our Deacons to have Communion by intinction, the uproar from one older Deacon, the giving in I suggested and his subsequent departure anyway. So when the two women preparing Communion today asked if Intinction was okay with me and revealed a gorgeous loaf of Challah, I said it was fine.

And when it came time to lift and break that beautiful loaf, I said, "Sometimes we break off a small piece of bread, maybe because we are worried that there won’t be enough to go around. You know the stories of the times Jesus fed thousands with just a few teeny-weeny loaves. This morning we are a small congregation with a large loaf, and I ask you to tear off a nice big piece today. There is always enough of Jesus’ love to go around. There is always enough to go around."

There was a lot of untidy tearing of good-sized pieces of bread, and after worship, there were big crumbs on the carpet. Alleluia!! We are all moving forward.

12 thoughts on “Crumbs on the Carpet”

  1. I just read your previous post just now; I didn’t want my comment to get overlooked there, so I’m posting it here–although, I don’t know what to say except (((hugs))). It is evident to me that you are a good pastor. This must be really hard but you handle it with such dignity and wonder and authenticity. It feels like even in the transition (from what to what? it may still be unclear) that you are shepherding them. More hugs.
    I’m feeling really glum because today in worship we read the names of everyone who’d died this year and rang a bell with each one. Very powerful but senior pastor and I got a two-line e-mail from the husband of a woman whose father was left out accidentally. He had died while senior pastor was overseas this summer, and while I did follow up pastorally it never made it on to the list. It was my responsibility so his omission today is my fault. I am exhausted from yesterday’s women’s retreat and two long services today (and carting around this huge basketball belly) but I need to call and apologize this afternoon. So I am “girding my loins” for that.
    This is the sweetest couple too, not one of those who just like to gripe about things. They were at first service and I dearly wish they had said something afterward so his name could have been included in second service. But I can understand feeling hurt and upset at the omission and not even wanting to talk about it.
    This is a hard job.

  2. It is. I actually invited names from the congregation, so someone named the person I had forgotten, an old dear with Alzheimer’s; I had been to the house once, but the son never responded when I tried to set up another visit, and the family chose to bury her without a service. So I have to admit she wasn’t in my frame of reference as I made my list. But it just felt like one more in a series of fumbles this morning.

  3. You’re an amazing pastor. Just sit with that today and not worry about what the future holds for you or for them.
    And hugs to RM too. It is a hard job, but you both do it well.

  4. Songbird, thanks for posting the link to your sermon. It was lovely. And I’m glad the (in)famous UCC ad was there, too, because I’d never seen it. There was much discussion in Episcopal circles about what a great ad it was, and it is!
    And Phantom Scribbler, I love your Talmudic quote.

  5. Thought you all might like to know that I talked to the husband–his wife was at work. He was a sweetheart. She actually hadn’t said a thing to him about feeling slighted but he hurt for her (and begged me not to say anything to her–said she would be *angry* if she knew he had e-mailed us!). His main purpose in e-mailing was to make sure we worked this out so it didn’t happen to someone else in the future. That couple is just the salt of the earth. Not a smidgen of bitterness. (It almost makes it harder.)
    I guess I could have posted all this at my place rather than hijack Songbird’s thread–ah well.
    I too love PS’s quote. I heard one from Islamic tradition this week–basically says “Trust in God, but tether your camel.”

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