…Take it; this is my body. Mark 14:22
I love Holy Thursday! It’s my second favorite Mass of the year but this year it’s not at all the same; but then again, nothing really is right now. The Mass of the Lord’s Supper is so rich and celebrates the institution of the Eucharist and the Priesthood and I will miss commemorating these things with my church family. It’s the night Jesus showed us how to love him and how to find the strength to do it well. At this Liturgy, we celebrate our unity as disciples but today I’m struggling with being disconnected.
The tears started Tuesday night after I hit the “end meeting” button on the first Zoom call with the 22 girls I shared most of a school year with. It was so good to see them smile and hear them giggle. It was a gift to connect virtually, but when it was over I was overwhelmed by an emptiness. It was so good to see them but it wasn’t enough…I couldn’t reach them …I couldn’t give them a hug or a high five. I couldn’t sit next to them to make sure their questions were all answered or check their smile to see if they were ok or just pretending. I didn’t get to hug them goodbye and tell them all the things that made them wonderful and all the things I’d miss about them. For the first time during this quarantine I felt overwhelmed by the separation.
As I was sitting with all of this in prayer, God helped me see all the ways this connects to Holy Thursday and the message Jesus shared with the Apostles that night so long ago. They didn’t realize there was an abrupt ending ahead of them. They didn’t realize why he was giving them such a mighty gift; the gift of his body and blood. They didn’t realize the desire for relationship that was being ignited in them as they sat around that table. All of the actions of Jesus in the hours that followed happened so Jesus could demonstrate the length and depth of his Fathers love for his children. We talk about wanting to have a relationship with Jesus but Holy Thursday reminds me we should want more! We should want intimacy…a closeness so tight we seem as one. Human nature achieves intimacy with the body. I can wave to a stranger, I can high five a student, I can rest my hand on the shoulder of someone who is struggling and I can embrace someone I truly love. All of those things are signs of intimacy and all of them in some way use the body. Jesus knew our need for intimacy and used his body in two incredibly profound ways to demonstrate it at the Last Supper. First, he washed the Apostles feet with tenderness and love inviting us to do the same for others. Second, he gave us HIS body and blood so we could draw him intimately into ourselves. There is nothing more intimate than taking another body into our own and that’s the gift we celebrate this night.
This distance learning/teaching thing is so much harder than I could have imagined. At first I thought it was so hard because there was so much technology and new best practice to learn but it wasn’t until this Holy Week that I realized those weren’t the things making this so difficult. It’s so hard because the relationship I have with the middle lovelies just isn’t enough, we need the connection; the intimacy to make everything complete. Watching Holy Thursday Mass Live-streamed will be beautiful and powerful but without the connection to church family there is a hollow feeling. Sacrifice, service, compassion and mercy are the hallmarks of these solemn and holy days ahead. I feel Jesus using this hurt in my heart to help me understand that growing in holiness is about not just the relationship but about intimacy. Lord, please help me draw closer to you.
A Seed To Plant: Connect with five people today. Text, call, stand on their front lawn to say hello or mail a letter…just connect.
Blessings on your day!
For then you shall delight in the Almighty and you shall lift up your face toward God. Job 22:26
Magnifying glasses are always a hit no matter what grade I teach. There is just something fun about looking at something regular in a new way. Even ordinary things like paper clips and the human tongue can become fascinating when seen with magnified detail. In the spirit of close inspection, I have a thought for you today compliments of Deacon Ralph Poyo. He was a presenter at the conference I attended recently and I could write a dozen posts with all the ideas he shared but today I have one word he explained in a whole new way.
The word is intimacy. Most of us would define the word as extreme closeness and that would be correct but we don’t often think of it in a Godly way. Deacon Ralph made sure everyone listening Wednesday night would think of it as a way to describe our relationship with God the Father. He said intimacy means IN-TO-ME-SEE. Talk about making a word come to life! So, grab your magnifying glass and head down to the next paragraph and let’s see what we discover.
God desires intimacy with each of us so if we stand before God in prayer and accept his invitation to see in to him; what would we see? I think we would see compassion, forgiveness, understanding, mercy, pride, delight and unfathomable love. That’s what he’s made of and that’s what he shows us. When we see him we see truth, justice, and everything right; not judgment, punishment or shame. I think he wants us to see that we are made in his image so we should see the same things in ourselves that we see in him. When was the last time you looked in the mirror and saw those things in your reflection? If we are intimate with him, we will begin to mirror what’s in him. I think the world could use a whole lot more of that image what do you think? He’s inviting us to see into him and loose ourselves in his goodness; he’s desperate for us to grow so close to him that we will move past things like guilt, shame, disappointment and greed. Seeing him closely will make us long for nothing else.
If I imagine seeing the face of God I often imagine myself turning or bowing my head in the presence of his greatness but he loves us so much he’s inviting us to get closer…so close we can experience IN-TO-ME-SEE!
A Seed To Plant: Write today’s word down the Deacon Ralph way and give it a lot of prayerful thought…let it draw you closer to the Father.
Blessings on your day!
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