Sunday, October 18, 2009

Servants all

But it is not so among you; but whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all. Mark 10:43-44

I served in a parish in Delaware some years back. I have always loved serving communion to folks and have always been touched by the notion of their willingness and openness to receive from me. Serving communion is an intimate act. You look in peoples eyes. You touch their hands. Some people open their mouths and have you lay the host on their tongue. You look in their eyes and see the love and pain all swirled together. Whatever their age and station in life, people come to the altar rail to be transformed. No matter how smug or familiar, how vulnerable and awkward, they come forward to receive something from God. I have always been humbled by the real privilege it is to serve others in this way. One man left an enormous impression on me. He was a active part of the community, served in many capacities - and I remember him for none of those things. I remember him for his hands. They were calloused and rough. He worked long hours all year long but especially before the holidays. He grew Christmas trees, and there was never an experience more delightful than going to his farm too cut down a tree. He offered his hands at the altar, the sweetest, kindest man with the roughest of hands, gouged and marked by the work he did in all weathers. And I always thought, every week, how these hands reminded me of Jesus.

Jesus said to his disciples that if they wishes to be great, they must be humble and a servant. Their hands and lives must show the callouses and the gnarling of loved worked out for others. The outward roughness showing a tender willingness to be a servant.

May this day be a day when we serve others. May we draw close to God by bending down, humbling ourselves and offering our hands and lives for others. May we be conduits of God's love through our hearts and hands this day.

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