Being a priest, I'm privileged to be with people in times of joy and sorrow and everything in between.
Yesterday, I visited a friend after the Sunday services. I took with me the sacrament of Christ's Body and Blood.
My friend's fighting a serious illness, which has limited his access to the world. Every time, we talk, I'm impressed by his courage, his positive spirit, and his faith in God.
I'm also moved by the love of his family and friends for him. They were gathered around him in the family living room yesterday. His friends included three college classmates. They'd heard he was ill, and they travelled from long distances to be with him, encouraging him with their presence, their jokes and banter, memories of life in college some thirty years ago.
I began the home Communion service, asking for a few moments of silence in which to remember God's presence and to give God thanks for the gift of friendship--both the friendship of others and the friendship of God for us. Friendships sustain us.
We said the prayers, and then I distributed the consecrated bread and wine--Christ's real presence for every person there.
The blessed bread and wine communicated Christ's grace or favor to each person amid his or her particular needs and struggles. I know my friend's needs, some of them anyway, but not those of the others who were there. But God knows those needs and meets them through the gift of his love in the sacrament.
We joined in a final prayer. I asked God for a miracle of healing for my friend and the destruction of the disease in his body. I prayed earnestly in faith for his full healing and for God's victory in his life.
As I said goodbye, I told my friend that I'd be back to visit. And I shall, for this is what I'm ordained to do--to be the physical and spiritual expression of God's healing presence to others. To be with God's beloved children in times of joy, sorrow, and everything in between.
Perhaps these visits are holy moments for others, even healing ones. They certainly are for me.