After determining my face no longer looked like I’d developed a bad case of acne or contracted a highly contagious disease, I headed to church yesterday.
Egg pox healed nicely.
Church is my ark, a safe place in life’s storms.
One of my friends talks about upstairs and downstairs church. Sounds like something from Phillip Yancey. Upstairs is like the penthouse of the ark with panoramic views, removed from the stench of real life. It’s a pretty place with pretty people, domicile for peace loving doves, leaders not losers, or so we like to appear.
Downstairs welcomes the dregs, the dung, the dumbstruck-by-life folks with egg on their faces or worse. Downstairs houses AA and Al-Anon, weight loss, divorce and grief support groups and others who feel more at home below than above. Better chance you’ll find Jesus among the needy, the desperate. Desperate enough to come alone, not the usual safe two by two into the ark.
Sometimes I’m upstairs, sometimes down.
Grace reaches both ways.
When the usher signified my turn to head to the front for the Eucharist, I parked my cane, then inched forward.
Upon reaching the altar, gripped the rail and cautiously bent my knees.
I wept, not for my sins but God’s mercy and modern medicine.
Didn’t rise for a long time, just sobbed like a downstairs church person, aware of a God who cares and cheers small victories, like knees that bend and broken people on the mend.
Shaken by relief and wonder, when served communion, I shoved the wafer to the bottom of the cup, absentmindedly stirring the wine, sopping up Grace.
Reluctantly rose from this cushioned place, then walked back to the pew with grateful gait, licking fingers still dripping with dregs of something too sacred to waste.
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