The Body & Blood of Christ: How does one describe the intimacy of no words?

The eight-day festival of Passover is celebrated in the early spring, from the 15th through the 22nd of the Hebrew month of Nissan, corresponding this year to April 4 through April 11, 2015.

The Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ 7 JUN 15

The Feast of Corpus Christi

How does one describe the intimacy of no words?

How do we describe the bond of holding hands, or a simple kiss?

How do we describe the nearly indescribable?

Last week, sitting in my office at Prison busy with preparations for upcoming Ramadan, an email pops on my screen.  It is an email from a particular Offender’s Case Manager, notifying me that a particular Offender had just learned of the death of his Grandmother.

Such and occurrence is not unusual for my day or days in prison.  With 1100 guys the angel of death often visits respective family members on a rather regular basis.

But this one has a bit of twist….

  • I have come to know this Offender quite well. He began serving his multiple life sentence at the age of 17, and is now recently 22.
  • I have met and embraced his Grandmother, several times over the course of the past 5 years as she has waited to visit her Grandson.
  • I too have come to know his mother and his father and his sister as well.

This was not going to be an easy conversation.

I called for him and as he entered my office, what I encountered was a young man who was torn, wounded beyond words, broken, bleeding and filled with pain, regret, and self hate.

One nearly inviolable rule in Prison life…..Staff…..no Staff….ever embrace an Offender…

But here in front of me stood one of the most broken of God’s children that I have ever encountered,  I opened my arms in a gesture of embrace and his tears started running like the Nile River and he wrapped his arms around me and said….Chappie…I finally get it!

I finally get it!

Here I was, in the embrace of a young man who had murdered both of the parents of his then best friend.

But in that moment, in that embrace, I believe Eucharist happened!

You see my friends; I believe our words fall short of the mystery they are so desperately trying to grasp.

But how do we explain the unexplainable?  I wonder if maybe we should rename this Sunday…the Feast of God’s Embrace…

Teagan was lying on our living room floor just the other day, and Megan was changing her.  She was less than happy with life, and even with a full tummy, and fresh clean diaper, it made no difference.  She was not happy and she was making sure that the world and anyone in ear shot knew it.

Arms outstretched….legs kicking….little hands clenched so tightly they could have made diamonds out of coal chunks;

Teagan was utilizing every tiny millimeter of her little vocal cords to let the world know she was not happy.

Megan, bent down, picked her up, laid her gently on her shoulder, gave her a kiss on her tear streaked face, she whispered…I love you Teagan…and patted her back and held her close….

And the tears stopped flowing, the screams of anguish subsided quickly and with a few simple breaths, the love of mother and child, gave way to calm, peace, trust, love and Eucharist happened!!

How do we explain the unexplainable?  Again, I wonder if maybe we should rename this Sunday…the Feast of God’s Embrace…

You see I believe that we gather as a community each and every week, not to listen to magic stories, and not to pray some magic words, or do some magic actions,

We gather, as a community to express and explain the unexplainable…to celebrate the Feast of God’s embrace…

We open our arms and God opens God’s arms, and we embrace, in bread and wine, and God whispers in our ear…..I love you…. and we whisper in God’s ear…I finally get it!

I hope it’s a great hug!

And I hope we share a lot of them with the world!

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