Our time of worship, prayer, and Eucharist last night, ending our six-week journey called Eucharist and Mission, left me feeling encouraged and strengthened both in faith and in community. Like so many things, the closeness we all felt as we left is a bit of a mystery, but my sense of it was that really listening to the story of healing in a person’s life and heart and body like we all did as Sarah so courageously and openly shared, reminds us that restoration is happening all around us all the time whether we know it or not. And this is such good news for us because maybe, just maybe, it’s happening to each one of us slowly and by God’s gentle hand through our gathering, our worship, our prayer, and our receiving and remembrance of Christ’s body and blood.
As Jenna shared the recap of where we have been this last six weeks, I think we all stood in awe of how much we’ve learned, yes, but also how our eyes have been opened to Eucharist’s urgency and relevance in the actual world, not just in buildings on Sundays. One of the images I can’t quite shake this morning is all of us standing and singing May Your Kingdom Come as we watched the pictures of deeply loved people so often enemies of one another, or suffering greatly from sudden tragedy or chronic poverty and pain, move across the screen. I would love to practice the kind of prayer we practiced together last night more often, refusing to be numb to the constant barrage of pictures of suffering, pain, and conflict and instead humming in prayer over each life, whether deemed a sufferer or an oppressor: “May Your kingdom come, may Your will be done. May Your kingdom come in us. May Your love be shown, may Your nearness known. May Your kingdom come through us.”
If you’d like to incorporate this prayer practice in your life, here is the framework we used last night:
- Collect a series of pictures of events happening in the world today or this last week that show faces of actual people (many news organizations have “pictures of the week” that they post);
- Review the faces seen and unseen in the picture and the broken or beautiful systems and governments that make the scene depicted a reality;
- for each person, deeply loved and made carefully by God in His image, that you see in the picture and for those unseen, but represented in some way;
- for the broken systems and governments that underlie what is depicted;
- for the way God’s kingdom is and will break through in the midst of the suffering, pain, or conflict represented in the picture; and
- Seek God’s mercy over the situation:
Lord have mercy.
Christ have mercy.
We will meet again in three weeks, on June 7th, and, in the meantime, may you practice Eucharist in the world.
Grace and peace,