Monday, May 20, 2019


So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary,
   beholding your power and glory. 
 Because your steadfast love is better than life,

   my lips will praise you. 
 So I will bless you as long as I live;
   I will lift up my hands and call on your name
(Psalm, 63:2-4)

Ronnie fell into my arms as we both wept tears of sorrow. We’d just laid his beloved Peggy to rest the previous week. He’d lost his partner of 65 years, wondering how he could ever go on.

Now, here he was, lumbering up the communion line to the front of the sanctuary, cane in hand, his miserable hip giving him pain with every step.

At the front, I wrapped the bread in the linen in which I held it so I could wrap him in my arms. The moment, the place, the intimacy of sharing the bread of life, provided a container, a holy vessel, where the bubbling cauldron of emotions we shared could spill out and be held in loving reverence.

Everyone present would understand even if they knew nothing of what Ronnie has just gone through.

For we were gathered in a sanctuary expansive and gracious enough to hold us and everything that is in us—pain, sorrow, confusion, hope, joy and especially love, great love that needed tears not words that could be shared in a place where they would be honored and considered holy.

This was the moment and this the place big enough, safe enough, gracious enough where great sorrow and great love could meet and be transposed into an even higher key where love shared becomes the Love who holds and heals every wound of ours.

This is Holy Communion where hearts shared know the Heart who shares everything truly good and loving with us.

Where else does this happen? Where else can it happen? In this cynical world, what other space—except maybe a 12-step recovery group—invites our vulnerability, offering sanctuary to our tears where great love and hope can be shared unashamed?

The sanctuary that held us was not a room but a people who gather to receive a grace and be made into grace that they might become the human beings they were always intended be and, at our best, that we actually want to be.

For a moment we were those people, Ronnie and me, and everyone present and looking on, too. We knew the Love who gathered us that we might finally become ourselves.

Pr. David L. Miller