Saturday, June 17, 2017

Visible Grace

This past Monday I went to a communion service our church sponsors each year for our members who live in the retirement village where my parents live. My mom wanted to bring my dad and wanted me to come along.

I didn’t want to go.

It was in the middle of a work day. My head was not tuned to worship that afternoon at 2 pm. My mind was on the seminar I was in all morning, the work waiting for me in my office, and getting home in time to stop at the grocery store.

Sometimes you do things just because your mom asks you to, just because of God’s command that you must honor your parents. So I went expecting nothing but a hug from my parents.

Dad’s dementia is such that he now is not always able to speak a full sentence. He rarely comes to church anymore. It is too difficult for my mom to bring him and too difficult for him to sit through.

Rev. Boven led worship that afternoon. I always appreciate her warm, pastoral presence as she opens Scripture and nourishes us with God’s word. This Monday afternoon service was no exception. The Spirit can work in even the most distracted souls.

And then communion, the Lord’s Supper, where Christ invites us to lift up our hearts to commune with the Triune God. There, Christ visibly offers us himself as nourishment for our Christian pilgrimage.  My Dad, the man who had offered God’s people the body and blood of Christ so many times as a pastor, wasn’t sure what to do with the tray of bread when it was passed to him. And when Rev. Boven said, “Take, eat, remember and believe…”, my mom had to prompt him to eat the spiritual nourishment offered him. My heart sank a bit and my questions of ‘why’ rose to God.

But then came our final song: My Jesus I Love Thee.
               My Jesus I love Thee I know Thou art mine.
               For Thee all the follies of sin I resign.
               My gracious redeemer, my savior art thou;
               If ever I loved Thee my Jesus ‘tis now.

Dad sang every word.
In harmony.
Just like he always had.
Time stood still. A kairos moment.

I knew then and there that God had blessed my little step of obedience. Following his command to honor my parents by attending that afternoon communion service had offered me one of those all too rare glimpses of the Dad I remember but rarely get to see. Like the Supper, God had offered me visible grace to carry me through this journey.

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