Sunday, March 07, 2010

Things I love...

clearly include dotty old ladies.

Since moving parishes - nearly 2 years ago now - I've been sadly deprived of them, and had actually forgotten what a delight they can be.
However, a couple of weeks ago I had a phone-call from the new manager of a care home housed in the one-time vicarage in the valley. Would it be possible for me to hold a service of Holy Communion for the residents once a month?
My wonderful Reader colleague was already visiting a couple of the residents with Home Communion, but there had been requests from residents and families for a proper celebration...so along I trundled this afternoon, fresh from Evensong at church on the hill.
Divine inspiration persuaded me to remain in my cassock, which was clearly exactly the right thing to do - now I not only purported to be the vicar, I even looked like one. 
All good.

The congregation were the usual mixture of completely switched on 
(KF "Who should we pray for today?" R., a very spry 98, "The government - though they may be past help!")
and distinctly confused.
Highlights of the afternoon included an impromptu exposition of assorted theologies of Eucharist, - inspired when one lady looked at the Sacrament as I placed it in her hand and asked in complete, but brisk bafflement
"What on earth is THAT?"
First I tried"It's Holy Communion"
No result.
A neighbour tried to be helpful...
"Holy bread"
Complete blank.
"It's Jesus"
"Oh HIM. I met him once before..."

Nobody was up to moving around, so it seemed to take ages sharing the Peace but I wouldn't have missed that for anything. Hands that trembled, hands that hung on as if they'd not been touched for years, frail hands, arthritic hands...but all so responsive to my touch and each one a blessing to me.

My confused lady was not the only one who left her wafer untouched on her lap - but for all that, I'm certain that each of us was touched by God at the depths of our beings this afternoon.

And I get to go back once a month - and to call this work!
Thanks be to God.

7 comments:

marcella said...

Lovely story - I'm sure she has met Him many times and will again. One day she'll recognise Him too.

Mrs Redboots (Annabel Smyth) said...

After all, the old Prayer Book tells us that if you are too ill (or old/confused/whatever) to "visibly and carnally press with your teeth" the Sacrament, it still counts.

Bless you for caring enough to go to the Old People's Home.

Hmmm, security word is "Ovens", and I can't decide if that's apposite or totally inappropriate!

Sarah S-D said...

fabulous stories, thanks!

Chorus said...

Wonderful - It sounds to me like you are a gift for the residents of the home.

Crimson Rambler said...

oh my yes, the hands...I miss them too!!! And the dottiness!

Mary Beth said...

what a lovely visit.

serenasnape said...

What a beautiful tale to tell.