Thursday, October 23, 2008

What did I say

about the unreflected life?

There has been a fair bit of living going on recently, but precious little reflecting. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa...
I've been chasing my tail rather, hunting for lost and essential bits of paper all over the study, starting too many admin projects at once, not doing anything like enough visiting...
That tends to be a bad combination - majoring on the areas where I have least competence (admin and time management) and neglecting those that are part of my core being.
Just as well, then, that there is the Eucharist to call me back to myself three or four times each week, and last week there was the added joy of a deanery Healing Service.

I never did work out quite how I was included in the (now dissolved, pending reconstitution) Diocesan Healing Advisory Group - but group membership meant that I was, apparently, qualified to help arrange the liturgy when FabBishop visited the deanery on St Luke's day for a special Eucharist...
As this came in the wake of all those special services in Hill & Vale, I began to doubt my sanity. Why had I agreed to this?

Preparations with my lovely colleague in the host church (she's an Overworking Curate who is valiantly holding a very busy parish together during a vacancy) led us both to wonder if hip flasks might be a better ordination gift that oil stocks.
There was much to-ing and fro-ing of orders of service as FabBishop's Chaplain confirmed that all was decent and orderly.
There was panic that nobody would actually attend (Saturday night AND the same time as Strictly Come Dancing).
There was my own private personal panic when I discovered just before I set out that I was to act as Bishop's Chaplain for the service...

But then the service started, and it all came together most wonderfully.
We'd agreed in advance that FabBishop would do any anointing, while Overworking Curate and I took care of the prayer and laying-on of hands. FabBishop's sermon had already explored something of the variety of ways in which healing might come, and we certainly weren't looking for piles of discarded crutches in the porch.
From my perspective, what happened was even more unlooked for and extraordinary.

I had forgotten the overwhelmingly healing impact on the ministers of praying for a long line of people, using simply the words provided in Common Worship.

In the name of God and trusting in his might alone,
receive Christ's healing touch to make you whole.

May Christ bring you wholeness
of body, mind and spirit,
deliver you from every evil,
and give you his peace.

I did know, really...
I've experienced it before..the way when you pray with sustained attention for each individual in turn, you become aware of God enfolding you, placing loving hands beside your own...
I don't know how it was possible to forget - but while the service continued on Saturday night, I knew with huge clarity exactly what I am for.


Michelle said...

...oh yes, my study is in utter chaos and I feel like I'm chasing one thing after another.

I just wrote about my experience of being annointed a few weeks back. I'm glad the "effect" goes both ways.

Margaret said...

I love this humbling sacrament. It was one of the things I missed most when I moved churches from one that had a healing/anointing service every week to one that did it not at all. We are working our way back, though, and today is our monthly service that includes anointing. Many thanks for this thoughtful, heartfelt post.

LutheranChik said...

I find even the act of signing the cross on the foreheads of small children who come up for Communion to be very meaningful for me...and sometimes for them as well, as in the case of the little boy who, being signed, grabbed my alb in a big bear hug.

Sally said...