04 December 2012

Lingering

Wednesday evenings at 7:30pm are for the Divine Service.  It has been that way for me for years now.  Wednesday night after Wednesday night I have been at an altar with the image of Christ Crucified and His Holy Apostles all around.  Preaching Christ and distributing His Holy Body and Blood to but a few each time, and this past Wednesday for the last time, at this place, at this altar, with this paten, with this blessed chalice.

And so I found myself lingering last Wednesday evening.  The verba were...slow.  The distribution... slower.  The cleansing of the Holy Vessels... at...a...snail's...pace.

The Sunday before was the last too.  With a great crowd.  A huge banquet to say farewell.  Family, friends, Holy Brothers, speeches, tears.  A beautiful hymn sing to finish it off. It was not quiet.  In. Any. Way.  It shouldn't have been.  It is a Confessional Lutheran Church, with Confessional Lutherans who sing Luther and Gerhardt and Nicolai.  With gusto.  People who love their pastor and bid him all the joy and love they've got.

But Wednesdays.  They were always quiet.  The Divine Service spoken.  The prayers of but a handful - a dozen or so.  Maybe twenty, sometimes five.  But Christ, this altar, this paten, this blessed chalice, with the lips of countless saints imprinted, among them the almost 80 I buried from this church.   With Christ.  In Christ.  For them, the quiet of death, but given over to life.  Christ's death.  Their death.  Christ's life.  Their life.  The quiet of peace eternal.  The quiet of a Wednesday night forever.

Now I sit at this desk for the last time.  Books in boxes, crucifixes and icons off the walls.  It is quiet and I linger here in this study to go someplace else where He will make use of me.  Confident in that, I still linger here.  It is the hardest thing to do, to leave saints behind.  Not only the ones living, but the ease of going to the cemetery to see the graves of those I loved and buried.  To linger there for a little while in between visits.  Peaceful.  Restful.  Joyful.

I suppose at the altar of the new place I'll learn to linger, to stay and find rest at that altar, with that paten, with that Blessed chalice.  It will take awhile I think.

How soon can I get Wednesday Night services going down there?