Monday, December 02, 2013
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
The mind is a ready traveler, instantly flying to far flung rooms and places the heart knows well.
Today, I see a holy pilgrimage from afar, a hospice room, and an old friend, Bev, tired, played out, knowing it is about time to go. No more chemotherapy, no more trips to he hospital, just keep the pain at bay. Please.
Entering there are familiar faces, friends, colleagues, members of the congregation, bearing prayer shawls and bread, wine and oil to do a holy thing, assuring a tired heart that there is One who never tires, who always watches and does not sleep.
They come bearing the peace of God and their grief, barely able to take in what decades of disease has done to their beloved.
I see their faces, their sadness and their overwhelming hunger to find some way--please God, some way!--to pour the love within them onto this soul who has barely enough strength to smile.
Still, there is that smile, dimmed, yes, but still there. I have seen and know it, and it whispers a gentle welcome to each beloved face that enters the room.
Even here there is joy; even in this darkness light shines. Each pilgrim to the bedside awakens joy for one more time to say thank you, one more time to receive the gifts of bread and wine they bear, to feel the warmth of a shawl and the blessing of the hands that made it.
Everything I see is a sacrament of a transcendent love that death cannot defeat. The windowless hospice room, dimly lit in shadows, glistens with light. The room is filled with knowledge of God. No words can speak it, but the heart knows.
Each pilgrim comes to this holy place bearing the gift of their life, their heart, their hands. Each comes to bless, yet wondering if they really have much to give.
They shouldn’t wonder though. They are well equipped for their holy mission. They bear the love who will never let us go.
I wish they could see themselves as I see them. They are more beautiful than they can possibly know. And when they leave, after they have blessed Bev with the beauty of their souls, after they received the grace of her whispered welcome, they will be more alive and glorious than when they first arrived.
I could pray my Advent prayer, “Come, Lord Jesus. Come to this place and lighten our darkness,” but it seems unnecessary. You already have.
And you have given me the eyes to see it. What more could I want?
Pr. David L. Miller