Psalm 148, 149, 150
2 Thessalonians 1: 5 – 12
Luke 1: 57 – 68
On a Sunday early in Advent, an elderly woman recently discharged from a psychiatric hospital and now living in a Toronto boarding house, called the Chaplaincy office of the hospital, requesting communion.
I arrived while Mary was still eating her lunch in the dining room, a dimly lit area in the basement of the house. I joined her and encouraged her to take her time with her meal. A cockroach walked slowly up the dingy wall beside our table, only a few inches from her plate. Legally blind, Mary did not notice it. She finished her meal, rose to her feet, and said, “I’m ready to see God now.”
In that moment, hearing her words, it was as if heaven and earth embraced, radiating a Great Light. Mary’s face was beaming in anticipation.
During the celebration of communion, Mary held herself with dignity and respect, participating in the prayers. The woman who shared Mary’s room had been lying on her bed quietly while we began communion, but at one point jumped up and screamed, “I need an injection … give me my injection!” Mary did not lose her sense of dignity and concentration, and the girl exited the room.
As I took my leave, Mary quietly said, “Thank you for bringing God to me.” This woman’s anticipation and profound receiving of the Body and Word and Spirit of God – amid degradation and trial – has become a model for me and, no doubt, for other believers.
Let us bless the Lord as we await the coming of Christ during this Advent season.