He’s Almost Here!
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Presentation of our Lord at the temple!
Read all about this in the Gospel of Luke 2:22-40
In keeping with Jewish customs, Mary brought Jesus to the temple for presentation approximately 40 days after His birth. It was common for the first born Jewish Male to be offered to the service of God. There are some churches which still practice this presentation service today!
Wow, what a morning! I have, for a time now, felt that familiar “nudge” from the Holy Spirit to enter into a new chapter in my spiritual journey. I have felt called to be a Lay Eucharistic Minister. In my particular church, this means that I will be standing beside the priests near the altar as we celebrate the Eucharist or the Mass as some refer to it. I will serve them by passing the sacred elements to them during the consecration of bread and wine into a sacred representation of Christ’s body and blood. My church offers communicants both the bread and the wine – they may sip from the chalice or dip the bread or wafer into the wine and then eat of it.
I grew up in a family that was very active in church. Seems to me I’ve spent more time there than any other place aside from home of course and church to me is home. it always has been. That being said, sometimes we grow a bit used to things and don’t really experience them deep within our heart and soul after a while, even the most sacred things. I found myself considering this not very long ago as I stood behind the altar while a friend who serves on our altar guild fulfilled her responsibilities and tidied up the area, took the linens to be cleaned and pressed, etc. I know she was speaking to me, but honestly I didn’t really hear her. I suddenly realized where I was standing and it seemed to me at that moment I knew just how Moses must have felt as he approached the burning bush. I couldn’t speak. My body shook. I felt tears come to my eyes. I didn’t know whether to sit, to kneel or to just stand there in His presence – the presence of the Lord in His house and at His table. I’ve been to His table many times and cannot count the number of times I’ve received communion there, but somehow this time was different for me. It was an awakening in a way I’d never felt before. I could only stand there frozen in that spot and in complete awe and wonder in the splendor of His presence.
I knew in that instant, though it felt like a very long time as I was experiencing it, that I was meant to minister to His people. I knew I was in love with Him in a way that no other experience could match. I knew I needed to be His disciple. We know that we are all His ministers in this world and that we are all called to be disciples of the King of Kings and spread His message and His Light into a dark world. We know this and I know this, but in that instant, something in my soul changed, was renewed, was lit on fire at the very depth of my being and I have not been the same since that day. I will never be the same again. Today, I was taught the rituals that come with the blessing of being a Lay Eucharistic Minister at my church. In two weeks I will have my first opportunity to serve my priests, my fellow worshippers, and my Lord by offering a bit of wine – His blood shed for us all which is the “cup of salvation.” I can’t promise not to cry when I do this for the first time, but somehow I don’t think He will mind. I know He’ll be there with me as I stand on that holy ground as His servant. “Drink this and be thankful.”