Yesterday was another Flying J evening. In many ways it was like any other night of ministry at Flying J. We had many different encounters. We did laundry (although a bit less than normal). We ate with people. We worshiped.
As a pastor, I often end up talking with a variety of people throughout the evening. One fellow was a bit of a challenge, but we did what we could for him.
During the meal, we worshiped. We worship in Denny’s. It is our sanctuary. It’s a sanctuary in the midst of the rest of the world. We are called to be a light in the darkness. It just so happens to be Denny’s.
During worship we share the Eucharist – often composed of hamburger or hot dog buns and some grape juice in a coffee mug. It’s what I have available. Typically my daughter comes along to help out throughout the night and then to assist with communion.
But tonight I asked if anyone wanted to help. This time our waitress volunteered – without knowing what to do. I gave her the cup and instructed her on how intinction works and what to say. And she followed me around the table as we gave the elements to people. And then we communed each other.
Afterward she spoke with me and shared what it was like. She said that when she was going around, offering the cup to people, she felt something change. “It’s emptying” she said. She meant that in a meaningful way – a release from the burdens kind of way. She felt the burdens that were around her empty away.
I thanked her for assisting. She said she was glad to, even with not knowing what she was doing. She said she loved waitressing our group. “You all feel like family.”
These were powerful works spoken by our waitress – a waitress that we love and look forward to seeing twice a month. A waitress that participates in worship with us – lifting up prayers with us, taking and assisting with communion. She’s just as much a part of worship as everyone else. Our definition of community is a bit unique I guess. It includes church people, the homeless, the poor, a waitress, and random other people who join in, and some who just listen.
And in this community, people have the opportunity to empty – to let go of what they are holding onto. To let go so that there is more room for God and what God is up to.