Two chance encounters to report.
Shopping for food someone comes up to me and says “You married us 25 years ago today. We have just been out to lunch to celebrate”. He then brought his wife Julie over to say “hello”. They could have just passed me by and then dismissed the incident with a “isn’t that the bloke who married us?” Thank you Colin for stopping me and allowing me to be part of your celebration. It was one of yesterday’s highlights – and a eucharistic moment.
It was the second of the day. Halfway though our midweek Communion we were interrupted – at the exchange of the Peace – by one of (I presume) our refuse collectors who was asking to use our toilet. It was locked and we had to break from the service while I unlocked (I was the one who knew where the key was). We had as one of our readings a passage which included the words “practise hospitality”.
What was so special about that moment? It was the disruption made sacrament by a stranger who became a brother at that moment – whose work in many cultures and minds makes the likes of him “outcast”. (See Gehenna as example) Refuse collectors are part of our throw away world – what they collect is our refuse, collected into places we refuse to go to or think about. Heaven and earth came together in that moment and the Peace passed all previous understanding into a new realm of meaning. It was also a reminder that those who do rounds need toilet facilities!
[We] live after the central moment of history, the death and resurrection of Christ, which in turn came after creation, fall and the calling of Israel; but [we] live before the final moment of history. the full embrace of earth by heaven, the transformation of the whole earth into a Eucharist.
Sam Wells – God’s Companions p65