It is a profound moment of community that reminds us we belong simultaneously to both the earthly and the heavenly realms, a oneness with the saints in light that is never more real than on this “thin” day when the veil between Heaven and earth beckons us with its transparency.
There is one expression I photographed which haunts me, mainly because it shows the seriousness of seeing or being Jesus in this world. It was in the church at Bethpage, where Jesus rode through on what we now call Palm Sunday, as he entered the city of Jerusalem. There’s a gathering of women watching, one holding her son, who looks to be about 3 years old. Her eyes reveal an awareness of the radical nature of this moment that changes everything, a sense of awareness that from here on out, she is dedicated to this man who is passing by on a donkey to die in Jerusalem. She is giving her heart and life over to the God who saves, although God does not save this man before her, but all of humankind through his death and resurrection. There is almost a quiet joy and a steadfastness which becomes noticeable. In her expression, she reveals the depth of her commitment to enter into the holiness of the moment, through which she will live the rest of her life in faithfulness. I can’t believe she’s not on her knees, because I see this same expression in the eyes of many of you, as you come forward and kneel at the rail, and in receiving the body of Christ, you who know from here on out, your life will be changed and challenging, as you receive the love of Jesus, whose name means “God saves”. This is what our response to salvation looks like.
As prayer ministers it was so important that we understand when you come to us on a Sunday morning and ask us to pray for your big toe. It is not a failure when you walk away and your toe still hurts. We rarely see what God does through our prayers. You may wake up the next morning and the toe is healed. Or your toe still hurts, but God has healed a wound to your soul that has kept you from talking to your father or your daughter for years. You may find yourself picking up the phone without realizing that it is because of that healed wound and you are set free. We are not God to see what wound is most important to heal. We just trust God to take our prayers and use them for your best good.