There was a gathering of “House Church” participants beneath the sturdy roof of the Bay Point Park shelter, located by the big bend in the mighty Mississippi at Red Wing.
It had been suggested in the email that you bring your own shot glass for communion. I was looking forward to using my pretty little cut glass thrift store acquisition — clean and sparkly as it was.
I anticipated holding it aloft while the liquid element was poured into my tiny stemware vessel. Instead, it was placed on a tray by a couple others — sturdier miniature tumblers. I was concerned my less steady glass would tumble for sure. Close but narrowly averted.
Before that there was a well considered and well received message, complete with further discussion, including the “valid and valuable” contributions by several new to the group.
Thunder and rain entered into the song. As the words “across to the other shore” were read, I noticed beyond the flowing water upturned tree roots from a previous storm. There were words about how words restored order to chaos.
It was hardly chaos, but it occurred to me later as somewhat remarkable that I’d stood face to face with my friend close enough to admire the texture of her stole and straighten her awesome necklace, which I don’t recall ever seeing before, and not cringing at the proximity to another person not of my household. No masks in sight.
But then it is a “house” church and we do “hold” each other close in heart and mind.
As one faithful participant said in connection with a local tragedy, but perhaps also apropos to the general scheme of things, “It’s a lot for a lot of people.”
We’re taught that some things in our human existence elude our ability to fully comprehend. Yet other things central to our earthly understanding can’t be overstated, such as how the experience of suffering can enable one to receive greater access to fulfillment through love — human and divine.
The wisdom of Sophia was invoked, the words of institution were spoken in unison and it was conveyed by unanswered rhetorical questions that there are some things we’re left to figure out for ourselves — as we commune transformatively in newness with others.