Pastor’s Email Devotion
The Week of Easter 4
April 17, 2016
“Take, eat; this is my body.” (Matthew 26:26)
I was present for my first “rev up” this past Thursday. Maybe you know what that is … I didn’t. I had a funeral for a community member who was an avid biker … Harley’s … the only bike, according to the crowd who had gathered. And as I finished the service and the honor guard finished their flag ceremony and the gun salute (the deceased was a Viet Nam vet), there was still one more ritual awaiting us … the “rev up.” The deceased’s Harley, which had stood in front of the casket the entire service, was wheeled out a side door of the funeral home to the parking lot, where another dozen or so Harley’s and their drivers awaited. On a spoken signal, all the bikes were started, and for a period of a minute or two, they all “revved up” their engines. The decibels got pretty high, and the sound reverberated into the room in which we had gathered. It wasn’t uncomfortable, but I could feel the power of the engines reverberating in my gut as I sat there.
An immature part of my spirit wanted to snicker and poke fun at this, because it was something unfamiliar to me and something that did not carry much meaning for me. I’m not a biker obviously, and the only motorcycle I ever owned was a used yellow Honda 90CC dirt bike that I bought on internship here at St. Peter’s when Nancy had to drive our car to work in York. Harley’s blow their noses with 90CC bikes, I suspect. As I sat there and looked around me, I saw tears running down the faces of almost every woman in the room. The “rev up” had the undivided attention of virtually every person in the room. And for a few pregnant seconds, there was a palpable silence when the engines turned off. Dare I say it was “sacramental?” Not in the literal sense that we think about when we hear the word “sacrament,” because the word has been Christianized in our culture. But the root of the word is from the Latin sacramentum which means an oath of allegiance or obligation; and from the Latin sacrare which means to consecrate. Hmmmmm …. Those words feel about right for what went on last Thursday. The potency for me personally was not present, because I’m not a “believer.” But I could feel the adoration emanating from the gathered believers.
It is understandable that our Christian sacraments of Holy Baptism and Holy Communion have a distinctive priority in our spiritual lives. Christ himself has commanded us to cherish them and use them as intended. For the Christian, no human act has a similar power in our lives. But might there be other actions in our lives that are sacramental with a small “s”? Maybe one meal a week to which your entire family is committed, no matter what? Maybe a morning ritual of coffee and a book while the sun rises? Maybe a word or phrase you speak to a son or daughter that communicates the very essence of your love for him or her? Do you think God’s potency is only limited to bread, wine and water? Maybe God’s sacramental presence is nearby more regularly than we realize. Something to ponder … ladies and gentlemen … start your engines ….
Lord of Life, I kneel before you in humble submission, as I drink deeply of the rich life with which you surround me. May I see your presence in this gift of the world in many and various ways. Amen.