07 September 2014

Twas a Glorious Day

from start to finish. After Pastor blessed the doors and opened the Church again, we processed into the joyous ringing of the handbells (and boy do they sound loud in the new room!). The school children sang the hymn that was originally sung when the Church was first blessed: "Komm, Heiliger Geist!" and did so auf Deutsch for stanza one, and then repeated it in English, and then the congregation belted out stanzas two and three. Pastor blessed one holy object after another: font, lectern, pulpit, and finally the altar. The choir confessed the mystery of this day in the Graudal: Locus Iste. In a fabulous homily, Pastor reminded us that even so lovely a space as this will one day fall to dust; but that Christ builds Himself a Church that never will be destroyed and builds it even in our bodies. The beautiful liturgy of the Holy Communion brought its tremendous comfort, as ever, and we sang it with overflowing joy. Handel's "Glory to God" began the Distribution and the joy grew in hymn after hymn. My favorite was the "At the Lamb's High Feast." To kneel down and receive again from that altar the gift of the Savior's body and blood...words fail. Such joy. Things back to the way they should be.

Following the liturgy, we gathered for a picture on the steps of the Church. Picnic followed, with bouncy house for kids, with pastor in the dunking booth, with St. Paul's usual barrage of food. After visiting for a bit, I came home and enjoyed a few hours of quiet.

The Evening Prayer liturgy wrapped up the day and I was blessed to stand again in that old pulpit, but as a guest pastor. It's not my pulpit anymore and it was the oddest sensation to be far, far more at home up in the balcony singing with choir than standing in front and serving there. St. Paul's is my beloved home congregation and I cannot thank God enough for the pastors he has sent us: Pastor Ball and Pastor Gleason continue to provide us one joy after another. But truly the better part is to sit with Mary at the feet of Jesus and soak up the gifts rather than serving the gifts out. I remember years ago when my friend Lee Maxwell had cancer and had to step aside from the pulpit. He said the same thing to me: actually, nothing beats receiving the gifts. He was right. Nothing does.

We ended the day lingering at the bonfire with a bright autumn moon shining down on us and the noise of children running and playing and feasting on s'mores. A blessed, blessed day indeed.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Congratulations to St. Paul's members on your new Sanctuary! The images you have posted are beautiful. May the Sanctuary provide St. Paul's members and guests with the peace that passes all human understanding while they are in the House of the Lord. May God Bless you all!