It was in the dark of the sanctuary that I noticed the movement beside me – his grey head bowed low near my husband’s, and Tony’s head nodding in ascent.
The days are already whirling as this new year begins and even after a restful and beautiful winter break, it can become easy to feel the pressure mount, the weariness grow.
And I can see it in his eyes.
As Communion is introduced and the cup and the bread explained, Tony stands and moves towards the front. He’s been asked to help serve.
I watch his hands and his movements, the bending and the looking for those who need help – not so different from the way that he moves through the halls of Madison House. Always searching for the ones who need extra attention – always so willing to share the life of Jesus.
He sits beside me again, leans forward with his head in his hands.
The juice fills my mouth, and the cracker breaks and I lift my voice with the others around me as I place my hand on his back.
It takes me another minute to see the grey head bowed low beside my husband once again. Only this time, his hands are passing the cup and the cracker into Tony’s own.
This man, he came and served at our camp years ago now – I remember how we were all amazed at his grit.
I’m not sure the story behind his brokenness, but his missing leg tells of one.
He probably wasn’t even aware of the weight that Tony carries on his shoulders almost constantly…the weight that wakes him in the early hours and presses him closer to Christ.
But the picture of the broken serving the weary with this tangible reminder of the Broken Body of Jesus, shook something awake deep in my soul.
Paul wrote to the believers in Galatia and urged them to carry one another’s burdens; in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
There is a beauty that can’t be captured fully in witnessing the ministry of the broken – but it calls us to lift our eyes higher than our present circumstances and place them firmly on the Giver of our Healing.
And as I witnessed on Sunday, our service towards one another doesn’t need to be loud or showy, it just needs to come from a heart that loves Jesus – that lifts Him higher than our own lives. That seeks the healing of others, even as we carry around our own broken places.
If we just start, right here where we are, who knows how Jesus can use our simple offerings – how His glory may be seen in the brightest and most beautiful of ways.
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor;
he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn;
to grant to those who mourn in Zion—
to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.
They shall build up the ancient ruins;
they shall raise up the former devastations;
they shall repair the ruined cities,
the devastations of many generations.
Strangers shall stand and tend your flocks;
foreigners shall be your plowmen and vinedressers;
but you shall be called the priests of the Lord;
they shall speak of you as the ministers of our God;
you shall eat the wealth of the nations,
and in their glory you shall boast.
Instead of your shame there shall be a double portion;
instead of dishonor they shall rejoice in their lot;
therefore in their land they shall possess a double portion;
they shall have everlasting joy.