Monday, August 03, 2009


Once a month, our church staff shares communion and has a time for a devotion in the Chapel on the first Tuesday of the month. Last week, Dr. Mike Marshall, our Executive pastor asked if I would lead the devotion and serve communion with him for the staff. He had opened the chapel early that morning, but when we arrived a couple of hours later, we all noticed that there were some additional items in the chapel that were a little out of place. They were simple, everyday items that normally, one would not notice or think odd, but the placement of these items is what struck us as odd.

There was a pair of glasses set next to the communion elements, a bottle of water placed on the left side of the alter, in the center of the alter, someone had placed some money in an offertory envelope and leaned it against the cross, and on the right side of the alter, was placed a wooden and brass crucifix and an Al Green’s Greatest Hits CD. At first, the reaction seemed to be, who was in here and were did they mess with anything, but we quickly realized that someone had left these items that had significance, and they began to take on symbolism in different ways for each of us. I for instance, was captivated by the glasses next to the Bread and Cup, almost as if God was saying to me, “See what it is I am doing in this sacrament, and what these elements mean.” Others were impressed by the money left, still others by the crucifix, water, and the Al Green CD (Who doesn’t love “the Reverend?”).

Two things really struck me that morning. The first is that I am embarrassed at our first reaction. I think we, for a brief moment, were thinking of the altar as our own. This is one of the problems we see with the Pharisees in Scripture, that they had an inside track to God, where Jesus comes and kicks the door wide open. I hope this person who left these items will come back, using this chapel for prayer and to commune with God.

The second thing that struck me is that God really wants to speak to us through everything that surrounds us. All of creation is His, and it is right for Him to use everyday things to tell us He loves us, to speak to us, and to reveal Himself to us.

I think of what Elijah must have experienced on the mountain side in I Kings 19, the windstorm ripped the trees the earthquake shook ground, the firestorm burned the earth, but the Lord was not in these things. Then, a gentle whisper was heard and Elijah stepped out of the cave to meet the Lord because the Lord was in this whisper, and not in the other. God reveals himself in unlikely forms and fashions. This message of the glasses near the bread and cup revealed to me, by my own admission, that my eyes were out of focus that morning, and that with the proper lenses, I could then see clearly what it was that the Resurrected Christ was doing for us through the sacrament that morning.

Throughout seminary, I heard the phrase, “we need the eyes to see and ears to hear, because God is doing things all around us.” If we aren’t careful, we might miss seeing God in action.