The reason the sanctuary is so empty today is because many of us are attending CMM’s annual weekend away in Simon’s Town. So you will have to sing extra loud today!
Well actually what I have just said is not really true. The sanctuary is not empty — oh it may have fewer people in it today — but it is not empty. In fact it is full — really fully! For those with eyes to see and ears to hear — it is full of the grace-full presence of God.
It reminds me of a story that Barbara Brown Taylor (a preacher/author) told of the time when no one showed up for Holy Communion except her and her assistant Bernard. She writes…
“Do you want to cancel?” Bernard asked me. “I don’t think so,” I said, although my hands were starting to sweat. In the absence of a congregation, there could be no mistake about whom the service was for. Bernard looked at timid as I felt. “Will you come inside the altar rail and say the service with me?” I asked him, and he nodded. For the next 30 minutes we were the church. We praised God’s holy name. We proclaimed God’s word. We interceded on behalf of the living and the dead, and we confess the sins of the whole world. After we hand received absolution, we exchanged God’s peace. Then we broke bread and fed each other from God’s table.
After it was all over we returned in silence to the sacristy. We both knew that there was no sense trying to talk about it, so Bernard put on his coat, hugged me and left. I hung up my alb and turned to fill in the service book. Everything was obvious except “Number Present.” I knew that “2” was right, but it did not seem true. I would have written “infinity” if I had thought I could get away with it. I finally settled on “3,” to include the invisible One whose presence is all that really counts.” [Christian Century 2001-01-17]
Enjoy the FULL-ness of the Sanctuary today.
Sunday 14 October 2012