As I sat in mass this past Sunday I had a million things on my mind and repeatedly asked the Lord to help me focus on the mass. As I sat in my pew after communion listening to the soft music and looking at the events on the alter I was trying to focus myself in pray but I found myself just staring blankly at the alter instead. Then I really watched and saw what was going on at the alter. The priest was cleaning the vessels used for communion and preparing to clean off the alter. The alter servers were carefully carrying one object at a time clearing off the alter and bringing everything to the little table on the side of the alter. One alter server went and closed the book and put it away. They brought the water over for the priest to use to clean the chalice. From my view it looked like the priest and the two alter servers were working in complete unison without saying a word to properly clean and clear the alter. The whole process seemed effortless and reverent.
I compare this to the after dinner routine at my house. There is an extended period of siting around debating who will clean up what and what (if anything) should be cleaned up today and what should be put off until tomorrow. After this we usually end up simply carrying everything into the kitchen and placing the dished in the skin (or on the counter) and putting away any left over food. The table is then quickly wiped off only if there is visible food on it. The kitchen and the table always end up clean but it is not a process that I enjoy or one that is effortless.
Well that makes sense. When I clean up after dinner it is just food that we have just eaten but when the priest and alter servers clean up after communion they are cleaning up after a meal of Christ's body and blood. This deserves a little more reverence then my vegetarian chilli. The priest and the alter servers took their work as sacred which it is. Every action was part of the celebration of the mass. In their actions they were showing reverence and respect for the body and blood of Jesus Christ. In their actions on the alter they were serving their Lord.
In just this short time that I was totally absorbed in the mass I realized that in the presence of the Lord something as simple as cleaning the alter can be a powerful experience and a chance to serve the Lord.
Why can't I make every action in my day a chance to serve the Lord?
Dear Lord, Help me to live my life as a service to you.
Joining in with Soli Deo Gloria