catapult magazine

catapult magazine

Vol 9, Num 9 :: 2010.04.30 — 2010.05.13


Passing peace

A funny thing happened on the way to the altar…

Not many moments after I had preached on a Sunday morning in one of our synod’s congregations, as invited by the liturgy, I was moving down the center aisle of the worship space sharing the peace. As I turned this way and that offering and receiving that amazing gift among the good people of the congregation, I eventually noticed a gentle but persistent tug on the cincture (rope) hanging from my be-robed waist.

I looked around and, finally, down, to find the source: a four- or five-year-old tow-headed, bespectacled boy looking up with deep intention, his hand (the one not still holding the cincture) extended. I folded my six-and-a-half-foot frame to look him in the eyes. “Peace be with you,” he whispered. “And also with you,” I said, grateful for the mutual gifting his tugging evoked.

On the long drive home, this experience brought biblically storied people tumbling to mind: priests hustling by a man who lies moaning in the ditch on their way to temple, a fragile woman grabbing at the fringe of a messianic cloak on the move, an alms-asker beckoning to pray-ers on their way to pray, a small boy standing among 5,000 offering his boxed lunch to sate their hunger. I wonder how often I overlook either gift or need on my way somewhere else.  As I look toward the horizon, the altar, the next task, whose need tugs for my attention just out of sight? Who waits patiently, persistently at my feet, by my side, to offer gift?

Turn our gaze, O Lord, to those nearby whose need or gift we will miss if we look only toward what’s ahead.

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