It’s a ritual I’ve been participating in for longer than I can remember. Sunday arrives. My wife and I arrive at the chapel. We shake hands. We tousle a few Sunbeams’ hair. We’re happy to be here. We sit. We sing. We pray. Then the main event:
Bread first: break, bless, pass, eat.
Water second: bless, pass, drink.
Repeat weekly. It’s a simple routine. It’s all over in a matter of minutes. I’m as guilty as the next person of sometimes just going through the motions. But though I’ve taken the sacrament more times than I can count during my lifetime, lately it’s taken on new meaning for me. It’s become anything but routine.
Seeing Things Differently
We all spend time in the refiner’s fire. Lately, though, I’ve wondered if my family has seen more than our share of the flames. Over the last few years we’ve been through some really hard things: deaths in the family, health problems, financial worries, loved ones dealing with divorce and addiction—you get the picture. All families have their struggles. We’re not unique. But sometimes it just feels like too much. Honestly, sometimes it is too much.
As the deacons made their rounds with the sacrament trays on a recent Sunday and I sat in the pews, these worries weighing on me, a thought came that made me see the sacrament in a way I’d never seen it before.
I remembered the account in the gospel of Mark, where a sick woman reaches out in faith to touch Jesus’s robe as He walks by, hoping to be healed (see Mark 5:25–34).
In almost all the artistic representations of this story the artists show a feeble woman crawling on her hands and knees with one arm outstretched, reaching, straining to touch the hem of Christ’s robe. You can see in her eyes that she has suffered greatly in her life, that she is yearning to be healed, that there is intent in her gesture to receive this blessing, and that this may be her only chance to be whole again. I bet she was just plain old weary.