I woke up Wednesday with windows open and watched the sunrise. Then I remembered, oh my goodness!!! I have to preach on Sunday. I walked downstairs and sat on the porch and did Bible Study, beginning to prepare for Sunday’s sermon.
Next Sunday we will hear the gospel about Jesus sending the 70 or is it the 72 out–they could never get the count right. Anyway. I was immediately struck by Jesus’ instructions to leave behind purse, bag, and sandals.
On Good Friday, 2015, my wallet had been stolen while I prayed the Good Froday service.
Bags and other things I’d thought important and necessary were gone because of the flood waters. Still, according to our Gospel, I have everything I need to do whatever, wherever, Jesus sends me. I have Jesus behind me. I have other people with me. I am not alone.
When I think about mission, about being sent out be Jesus, one of the things that makes me sad is that right now I don’t seem to be able to do the things I think I should be doing. I think of all the things I’d like to accomplish that are being left undone.
Then I read Suzanne Guthrie’s commentary on the Gospel. She talks about all the ministry she would loves to imagine doing but health issues have limited what she is able to do. Suzanne has become content with doing what she is being sent to do right now–to write, to teach, to pray. She knows that is enough.
I went to the noon Healing Eucharist in the next town over. Except the priest didn’t show up. Instead, a member of the parish, Bob, was present, and he said that we could do Noonday Prayer instead. Bob said that he was prepared to lead, but offered for me to officiate (my friend had introduced me to him as a priest). I told him that I was willing to serve, but that I was good deferring to him. The three of us formed a circle of chairs and read the Scripture for the Feast Day of St. Peter and St. Paul. Bob offered a homily, and then we did prayers for healing. Afterwards, my friend and I went into the chapel and walked the labyrinth, and I prayed some more.
When we had entered the church, Bob had said that the priest was not likely to show up because she was ill. As we had prayed before worship, I knew that I could offer to celebrate the Eucharist, but somehow it didn’t feel like I was supposed to offer. I hope that I was listening to the Spirit, of Jesus walking behind me guiding me gently. Worship was fine without my priestly hands. At the healing portion of Nnonday prayers, Bob anointed and prayed for me, and I did the same for him.
In the afternoon, my friend and I did the next lesson in my online retreat. It was a dance called Peregrine. The words of the song are:
No rudder, sails nor oars
Trusting the current
Trusting the course
Our hearts are ready, fully ripe
Our hearts are ready for new life (Richard Bruxvoort Colligan)
This morning before I left to fly back to Houston, my friend and I took a few moments to do Centering Prayer on a bench amidst her garden on the deck. Yet another prayer chair was provided for me. The phrase that bubbled up during the quiet was the path is home.
I am still sorting things out. I am still grieving. But among the gifts of this retreat are places along the path, which is my home, to sit in whatever prayer chair provided and ponder and continue to heal. I don’t like being broken. I don’t like being vulnerable. But it is the path. It is home.