Posted in worship

Ants on the communion rail!

Ants may be some of God’s smallest creatures, but it doesn’t take many of them to cause a major panic in the house of the Lord, especially when they are crawling around on the communion rail during worship service. I didn’t witness them, but I sure heard about their invasion into sacred space!

OK, I’ll grant that it would break my concentration and meditation to feel insects crawling up my arm as I knelt at the altar. I don’t like gnats flying into my ears or buzzing around my eyes, either. Yes, just a few little bitty guys like that can ruin a whole worship service.

Where in the world did they come from? We saw no obvious line marching in from a crack or a window. Fortunately they weren’t fire ants. But then an astute pest control professional/member noticed a stream of the insects from the Advent wreath stand, which had been brought into the chancel for the first Sunday in Advent. The stand had been stored for a whole year in a rear entryway near an exit door. A perfect place to hide away for a while. Until December, when the ants found themselves just a few meters of drops of wine and crumbs of bread. Of course they’re going to go and see what’s going on out there.

But only for a day. We quickly cleaned out their adopted home, the rail and the chancel. Just like the spider we once found crawling up the trays of wine or the lizard who scampered across the altar, we persuaded them to worship outdoors, where they could be just as close to their Creator.

Posted in Israel

Water flowing

I love this picture. It is one of my favorites from our trip to Israel. I took this picture at the Church of the Beatitudes, possibly the site where Jesus taught the Sermon on the Mount beginning in Matthew 5.

The streams flowing from the altar reminded me of two bible passages:

“Then he brought me back to the door of the temple, and behold, water was issuing from below the threshold of the temple toward the east (for the temple faced east). The water was flowing down from below the south end of the threshold of the temple, south of the altar” (Ezekiel 47:1).

“Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb” (Revelation 22:1).

In that moment, I felt like I was there. In between the ancient prophecy of Ezekiel and the not-yet visions of Revelation, I was captivated by the streams of life-giving water flowing from the altar. Jesus died and rose so that I might have life in the waters of my baptism. For me, this was a breath-taking moment to remember.

Yes, I felt blessed The mosaic words capture the moment well: “Praise to you, O Christ!”