Tuesday, April 25, 2006

This is the Body of Christ, Broken for You

"The body of Jesus Christ, broken for you, take and eat."

I said these words over and over as people walked to the Table to receive the Sacrament.

Some people take just a tiny crumb from the loaf of bread and dip it gently into the bread. It is as if they are afraid to come to close to the sacred. "We are unworthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under your table," will be the words of the prayer I will use at the end of the Sacrament, and it is as if these are people who know too well their unworthiness.

Others will come and take a large chunk of the bread and drench the bread with wine from the chalice. It is as if they are starving for spiritual food.

My son comes through the line. There are three elders with me serving the Sacrament, each holding one half of a broken loaf, or holding a chalice of wine.

He comes and takes the bread.

It is a tiny piece.

"The body of Jesus Christ, broken for you, take and eat."

He does not look at me as he takes the bread, and he moves onto the elder next to me to dip the bread into the wine.

He was in tears when we drove up to the church. I know it is a difficult thing for him to do, to cry in front of his father. Sixteen is such a difficult time. And like many of the things that overwhelm him, it was such a small thing.

People think pastors and their families are perfect.

We are not.

We are frail.

We sin.

We say hurtful things.

We do hurtful things.

We are human.

We laugh.

And sometimes we cry at the Table of the Lord.

I had been waiting for almost two weeks to share some advice with him. On the way to church the opportunity finally presented itself. But the gulf between an adult and a teenage child is so vast. He has no idea how much I understand what he is going through. Soft words of counsel sound to him like harsh words of criticism. I know that he is not stupid, but I also know that he lacks wisdom and experience. These will come only with pain and suffering.

It would be a lot easier if he would listen.

But he won't.

Growing up takes time. No matter how much others around want to help, it is something one must do at one's own pace, and along one's own unique path.

My son attended the first service, and then disappeared for the day. His absence worries me throughout the other services.

Throughout the morning, people chat with me about their lives.

Anne says her daughter's pregnancy is not going well. She is dehydrated and ill, and eating poorly.

Bakers have bought a new house and asked me to conduct a blessing on their home.

Charlie and Donna have brought their 14 year old nephew into their home. He was being used by his guardian as free labor in an abusive setting until the boy almost committed suicide. Now they are going to become the legal guardians.

Ed is having some difficulties with his daughter as the family adjusts to Ed's divorce.

A family came and asked me to conduct a baptism for their child.

Fran tells me that her father will not be going to the Senior's feast, and he probably needs to go.

Georgia was not in church, but her mother tells me she is doing very poorly.

I conducted a new members class between services.

I attended the the youth group meeting this evening.

My son and I watched a baseball game on television.

So many concerns, but the one who concerns me most is my son.

Family life is not easy -- not for pastors. Not for anyone.


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