Yesterday I met with Fr. P for our long overdue lunch. I can't believe we haven't shared a meal since before Thanksgiving. It felt like so much happened in the interim.
We discussed many things: The darkness of Advent. The dark night of soul as brought on by Centering prayer. Christmas. My children's baptisms. And my feelings about having joined Grace Church. In some way, I feel like my joining Grace is an act of obedience. It is probably not the place I would have chosen for myself, but I believe, as I have said before, that God is calling me to be there. The kids love it. Nguyen is still uncomfortable, but I feel it will be a welcoming place for him, too.
During lunch, Fr. P mostly sat quietly and listened. I had a big list and he wanted me to get to it all, so he kept his comments to a minimum. But as I was talking about Grace, he said,
"Rachel, your greatest ministry right now is to your children and your husband. Perhaps it is your ministry to them that calls you to Grace."
At which point I burst into tears. It was about as moving an affirmation as I have ever gotten. Fr. P immediately drew a handkerchief from his pocket and offered it to me. At that, I had to chuckle. I have NEVER been offered a hanky! (So 1940's movie-ish, isn't it!?)
Tonight, then, when I went to S. Stephens for the Solemn High Mass of the Epiphany, it didn't surprise me at all that Fr. A's sermon drove home the same theme. It was a beautiful homily on how the Magi have taught us to worship God. Be willing to go on a journey. Be willing to make sacrifices. Bring your best gifts. And most of all, fall down and worship God. He said that we must remember that the act of worship is not about what makes us feel good or spiritual or prayerful... it is what we offer to God because we love him and are grateful to him. It really hit home, especially after yesterday's lunch. At some points of the service tonight, I wished I had Fr. P's hanky.
All the way home I listened to the Messiah:
"I know my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth,
And though worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God.
For now is Christ risen from the dead, the first-fruits of them that sleep."
By coming into the world, you have made all that is in it Holy.