In our congregation, we receive communion at the front of the sanctuary and kneel (if able) to receive the bread and wine. It is a reflective, grace-filled time as familiar choruses are sung softly by the congregation.
This part of worship has become meaningful to me as I watch individuals and families make their way to the altar before and after us. Because our church is small, we have friendships and connections with many of the participants and know some of their personal stories.
I see an optimistic friend who makes his way to the altar with a cane next to his wife. I think of him as he stands, unable to kneel, and how we have held him in our prayers for the last few months as he has endured chemotherapy (again) to battle his cancer. I think about all that he and his wife have endured and breathe a prayer of thanks for his presence.
A two year old girl catches my eye who was born in China as she is held by her adopted mother. As the little girl passes by our pew, she looks at me and grins. I return her smile and she starts waving at me with her whole arm and hand in big motions. I wave back. The wave becomes contagious and every person on our pew eventually joins in. Our spirits are lifted.
After worship, I move directly to my friend who has cancer and I hug him to welcome him back to church.
He says through a broad smile, “It is good to be back home.” I am surprised by my own emotions and all I can do is touch my heart with my hand. I reach out and touch his chest with my other hand for a few seconds. My voice catches in my throat, “I’ve been praying for you.” He responds with a “thank you.”
No other words are needed.
Today I experienced God’s presence through my adult friend, and through an adorable two year old girl who is adopted and loves to greet others with a friendly wave.
And I am thankful for God’s adoption, by grace, of me too.
I wonder what God’s face will look like tomorrow?