It was a beautiful Sunday morning and I was running just a few minutes late for church. As I arrived at Our Savior’s, I walked up the front steps and found the doors to be locked. I checked my watch, which seemed a little odd since it was 11:05 a.m. Well, the full parking lot was encouraging as I walked to the parking lot entrance. I expected to hear the opening hymn or a praise song upon walking in the sanctuary door, but there were two rows of people in the aisle moving towards the front. Baffled, I stood there for a moment, wondering if the service was ending. And then I realized they were approaching the front rail for holy communion. oops! Talk about timing. I stood there with a smile as I realized the summer schedule began and was pretty sure that everyone could see the invisible layer of egg that was on my face too.
Well, as is always the case at Our Savior’s, the congregation was gracious. I shared with a few individuals in line what happened and was met with a knowing smile of grace and gentleness. They didn’t tell me to turn around and walk out the door, that I missed the proper ingredients of worship to approach the Lord’s Table. They didn’t greet me with judgment, as if I had missed the mark in some way, they responded with empathy. It was only later on the drive home that I realized by leaping into the line midstream that I missed the opportunity to share in the sung Creed. I missed the opportunity to raise my voice in the Lord’s Prayer with the faithful who were gathered in the pews that morning. I missed the words of blessing and invitation to come to the table. Despite all of those things, I found myself included in the Savior’s gestures of grace as always on Sunday morning – in the bread and wine – but also with the faithful attenders who greeted me in line. I’m not even sure that they noticed the invisible layer of egg on my face.
The Road to Emmaus story in Luke is by far among my favorites of the Easter narratives. It’s beautiful in so many ways. The transparency of the two disciples along the road is one thing that I appreciate. And I love the playfulness of Jesus in his relationship with them. Even though they missed the mark in understanding what he taught them so often in their shared time together, he met them on that road with gentleness and love. They were mourning his absence while he was there the entire time, unknown to them, until he broke bread with them. As their eyes were opened, and Jesus vanished from their presence, they were filled with joy, confidence and urged to “go and tell” about this mysterious visitor that graced their path.
I’m grateful for the mysterious ways the Savior meets us at the table. I’m grateful for the Lord’s graciousness with the disciples on the path that day so many years ago. And I’m grateful for the disciples of Our Savior’s who met me on the path to holy communion on Sunday morning. God’s grace still humbles me each time it seeps into my soul. May the same be true for you, as grace envelopes your being – in times when you miss the mark, or in other moments when you are in stride with life, with God and those around you. Peace of Christ to you.
– Mary Bielke