Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Beauty of Communal Worship

Participating this morning in worship for Church of the Holy Trinity was a real privilege. Serving as an acolyte in the liturgical service creates a praxi fide of being intensely Christian. One of the great benefits of serving as an acolyte is the opportunity to, in essence, have a "front row seat" to all that takes place at the altar. When prayers are read, sacraments consecrated or distributed, your right there - in the thick of the experience. I enjoy it very much.

Today was especially meaningful because I witnessed something so wonderful as to deserve mention here. One man in the church has a son with a severe disability, the name of which I do not know. Nevertheless, at the time for distribution of the elements of the Table, the disabled son needed assistance to be brought forward in his wheelchair to receive the Eucharist. His name is "Rutherford." As I stood before the altar, holding oil and a napkin nearby for the priest to bless many who came to the rail, I observed Rutherford's father wheeling him down the center isle. When he came to the steps, he and an usher grabbed both sides of the wheelchair and lifted him up to the raised platform. Rutherford's chair was pushed forward to the rail to receive Communion and the priest blessed him using the oil I held. When the priest dismissed everyone at the rail, the same procedure was executed to take him back.

In this moment I witnessed a microcosm of the Church at work. Rutherford is disabled - quite severely. He cannot approach the altar on his own. The result was that there was need for the Church to assist him. Those knowing his need, and his inabilities, offered their help for him to participate in the worship of Jesus Christ. It was not left to him to simply conjure up his own ability to "come boldly to the throne of grace." Instead he was aided in his approach by those provided by God for his assistance.

This living picture was very poignant, and will stick with me for quite some time.

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