This week I was in Greensboro attending a NC Synod event. We stayed in a hotel near the airport. The hotel offers hospitality to weary travelers and airline personnel and has meeting space for groups. Our group met in a medium sized ballroom. There was nothing fancy about it; nut brown to the wainscoting, lighter tan above, and a brown and gold carpet with a bold pattern to hide spills. There were long tables with green skirts and chairs. It was a standard meeting room.
After productive study and conversation, the gathering closed with Holy Communion. A long table was pulled into the center of the room. Chairs were placed in a semi-circle, a burlap runner, a single pillar candle and a pottery communion set was placed on the table. It was unadorned and one might call it stark. The service began with a powerful prayer written by Roman Catholic women who seek ordination. Other prayers for the well-being of the synod and rostered leaders were offered followed by other petitions. When the dialogue began all of us were focused on this rather plain altar set up in a generic hotel meeting room. What I discovered is that it didn’t matter. It was the people around that altar, it was the powerful word of God that proclaimed in the sermon, it was the passing of the peace, and acapella singing of a hymn that filled the room and made it holy ground.
As we enter into the summer season remember the people of God who gather for worship at Good Shepherd; it is the powerful words of good news and Eucharist that bind us together. If someone is absent for a time, reach out and check on them. They may be traveling, but there be other circumstances that have kept them away from the community of faith.