Today at St. Mary's we celebrated our monthly Wednesday Eucharist, and it was fitting that we used the propers for the Feast of St. Mary the Virgin--a nice preparation for the St. Mary's Day Festival on Sunday, August 28.
Nine of us gathered for worship and prayer. We anointed with oil those seeking God's healing and sent out Eucharistic Visitors to visit four families. We offered the Eucharist in memory of those who had died in the past month. Of course, as our Offertory prayer, we prayed for our parish family.
Almighty and everliving God, ruler of all things in heaven and earth,
hear our prayers for this parish family.
Strengthen the faithful,
arouse the careless,
and restore the penitent.
Grant us all things necessary for our common life,
and bring us all to be of one heart and mind within your holy Church;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
After many launderings and soakings, my stole is wearable again. Granted, it is now faded to more of an aqua color--befitting its flood journey. The panels have become more like stained glass, the dyes having bled and run together creating new colors and patterns. I wore this well-loved and well-worn stole for the first time today for the Eucharist honoring our patron, Mary.
As we read the Gospel appointed for her day, that Gospel we call the Magnificat, I was struck that those words were sung by Mary days after she had received her invitation from God to bear God's son. Everything was new for her--it was like she had been given a brand new, bright blue stole. She had no idea the wonder and delight and, yes, suffering she had before her. By the end of her life, her "stole" would have been faded, damaged, no longer pristine, but beautiful with the memories of service that she had carried.
My stole, after the flood, is more perfect because of the wonder, delight, suffering, and prayer it represents. This stole was given in love, worn in love, and repaired in love. The changing colors and patterns, more beautiful in surprise, are an image of God's yes to the prayer we are praying for our parish family--the faithful strengthened, the careless aroused, and the penitent restored as we do have all things necessary for our common life, through Jesus Christ, the Son of Mary. AMEN