Yesterday, our worship service started, literally on a beautiful note, although the pianist mentioned the pedal was not working. Undaunted, she began to play the hymn, "Give Thanks." We all began singing as we went about the tasks of greeting people, handing out song sheets, and setting things out for communion, simple tasks that I never seem to tire of. I see Barbara in her usual spot. She always sits in front, very upright, with her small purse in her lap, giving me the sense that we are all waiting for the bus. The whole time I have known her, she has always politely declined communion. However, this week, I heard the quiet response of "Yes, I believe I will." In ministry, yeses, no matter how softly spoken, ring loudly. It is as if I am hearing the peal of church bells.
Our ministry has always been well received in this home. Often, several staff members will stop their work to sing a hymn with us or take communion, and this day was no exception. After worship, the activity director came up to me, and excitedly said, "Oh, Reverend (she always chimes the word in three distinct syllables), I have something to tell you. I am being baptized the Sunday after Thanksgiving!" We hugged, and an image of Mary and Elizabeth greeting one another came to my mind. It is difficult to describe, but that moment seemed so full of the mystery of what had come before, and what lies ahead. I was reminded of the beauty of faith-filled friendships and why I tend to the table. Yes, I wear a stole, but an apron would do just as well.
Perhaps this what Barbara knows - that we are not waiting for the bus, but rather we are already on it. And there Christ is.