“We heard the announcement about church this morning.” “Yes, but no-one came, so we’re through early.” “I’d like to have Communion,” said Joan. “Certainly. Come into my office.”
We sat around my table and talked while I prepared Communion. “This is another miracle,” said Joan. “Last Sunday at our church, they didn’t have Communion. They seem to be more concerned about getting through in an hour. I’m so glad we saw you.” I soon learned why it had been so important. “My white count is at absolute zero this morning. We can’t go to church any more. It would be too dangerous. I could catch anything. Yesterday we had a miracle too. I was driving to my office to get all my things, when we passed my business partner. We both stopped, and he came over to help me pack up. I’m taking a year’s leave from my company to focus on beating this disease. If I hadn’t seen him, I might not have seen him for a year. We have rented an apartment in Denver, so I can get a bone marrow transplant. Right now they are looking for a good match. A lot of people are praying for me, and I know it is helping.”
We sat at the table, and I said, “I’d like to share the story I was going to tell at the service this morning.” I proceeded to tell about another young man who would have died without immediate surgery after his colon exploded. He had called me in the middle of the night to share his joy, after having his colostomy reversal that day. He needed to share with me his spiritual journey since the surgery. Out of his physical and spiritual crisis had come a literal resurrection – a new beginning of body and spirit. “A health crisis,” I said, “is an opportunity for a deepening of the spirit, and a reprioritizing of life.”
Then we prayed, and shared Holy Communion. “The body of Christ, given for you.” “The Blood of Christ, shed for you.” It was a holy moment. As they left, they were smiling and re-energized to face the new journey that faced them.
Why do we have a church service in the hospital? It is for moments just like this. Moments of Grace in the midst of unexpected life-disrupting turmoil.
Rev. Dr. Rolf V. Brende, D. Min., B.C.C. Reprinted from Grace Drops, Volume 7 (2009).