Saved a Wretch Like Me, 23NOV – #768

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Saved a Wretch Like Me, 23NOV

I attended a beautiful service (if you could call any funeral that) for a 47-yr old co-worker. It was needed presence for each of us to be there, to be witness that he touched many lives. It was so sad and yet so compelling for us to attend. It was a reminder that LIFE IS SHORT and the priest faithfully reminded us that Heaven is forever.

It was probably the best, most reverent mass that I have been to, in like forever… It was filled with quiet prayer. It was filled with stepping forward from disbelief and showing strong presence to support the family.

Beautiful, Sad, Solemn.

It was as solemn as you could get.

I walked in from the parking lot just as the priest left the rectory. What timing I always thought. I said hello,  he remarked at the packed church parking lot, especially for a 47-yr old. I wondered if he knew his congregant personally. I wondered if the service would be personal or impersonal, knowing my limited experience of Catholic mass funerals seemed too impersonal.

The quietness of the many minutes before the service, the solemnity was seemingly perfect because with so many people it felt more like each person had that quiet opportunity to talk to the Lord themselves. I felt like the Lord Himself,  fisherman that He is, fished thru everyone’s thoughts. It was as deeply personal an opportunity to talk ONLY to the Lord as you could imagine.

I was raised Catholic, I remember and respect these rituals, the solemnity, the kneeling and the quiet.  Even though I sing in a VERY spirit-raising praise and worship band, I totally appreciate the VERY spirit-raising QUIET. This is where Jesus can talk to you One on one.

A little later, I found that place in my heart that was questioning whether I should take communion or not. No, I have not been to Catholic confessional in 35 years. No, I didn’t want to be a grandstander and protest oral law (well,  maybe a tiny bit). No, I didn’t JUST want to taste that yummy wafer. No, I didn’t JUST want to be a crowd follower. No. But I wanted communion this day, this hour. So YES, I was wanting communion to ask Jesus for Grace, thank Him for His sacrifice, and most importantly acknowledge that YES, I believe that He saved a wretch like me.  How can I believe in Jesus if I do not believe that He came to save all of us. That I know as truth. I am overwhelmed that He wanted to save me – and let me know it.

We want Jesus for our future AND forgiveness of our past. We need Jesus in the here and now. I could anticipate that taste of the wafer, probably because I and we should always taste for Grace.

I was blessed to hear and mumble thru my words of preparation, “Lord, I am not worthy to receive You, but say the Word and I shall be healed.”  I waited for that exact line, because I believe it. I believe if you ask for mercy that the Lord will grant it – not because we deserve it but because He has the power and the desire to give it when we ask. Jesus.

The Word that says and saves everything in us is “Jesus”. We are His. We are Healed.

YES, the TRUTH that sets us free to be saved by Jesus is Jesus Himself.  The truth is when He died, THE VEIL WAS TORN. The blockage between us and God represented by a thick curtain in the synagogue worship places was completely torn, split open. With saving grace, we have 100% complete access to God, Our Father, by the death and resurrection of His son, Jesus.

I knew I wanted to share communion with Jesus when I remembered that opening, that brokenness,  that healing.

And then I watched the priest holding up and snapping the giant wafer in half. “SNAP”.

And then I placed the flat wafer in my mouth and “SNAP” it folded perfectly along the pre-pressed line. Yes, Jesus Himself was pre-pressed to save us. SNAP.

Can you hear the veil to have already been torn in your own life? Was/is it a slow rip or SNAP?

I was ready to go, awaiting the turn of my back pew, listening to beautiful singing of Amazing Grace. But wait, the words were changed – how could that be, it is Amazing Grace! That’s when I knew my appreciation of Jesus and me having a very personal relationship. (That’s when I knew I had the title to this writing, as I knew that I could not process this day without writing about the amazing grace of Jesus)… As I sang it while walking up to receive communion, she sang “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a SOUL like me.” – ummm, “WRETCH”.  WRETCH!!!  Ummm, how PC to change lyrics, but really? to change that word?… Yes, I am a soul but surely I am a WRETCH in need of saving.

It’s not that I (we) revel in wretchedness. nor should I (we) glorify ourselves in goodie-2-shoes-ness! I realize that from original sin and thru the hardships of the world we are born into darkness. We need LIGHT. We need Jesus. We are wretched and ready to be saved. We are already saved – it has been finished by Jesus – everything else is about getting thru this world to our eternal home.

Darkness, that must be wretched – that’s aloneness without the Lord.  Therefore LIGHT, hope, yearning – with even the smallest glimmer of LIGHT, we are experiencing the GIFT of our Lord Jesus directly. We experience, as do others, Jesus working out of the LIGHT of our hearts. All good things come from God, therefore all LIGHT of life comes from God too. We have HOPE.

Wretchedness is not the end of our story, “Amazing Grace saved a wretch like me”. The Way to grace is the Way. Jesus is the Way we must travel.  I once was lost and now am found, was blind and NOW I SEE!!!!!

How much easier to see now that the veil is torn. See, enter, approach, live.

When the veil tore, Jesus allowed us to see His glory. But guess what? We still need to choose to WALK THRU the curtain. We are allowed to see, but we must open our eyes and our minds. “Was blind but now I see”.

We must accept that we need to be saved and Jesus is already waiting for us.

I was grateful that I took communion from the shining smiling face of a server who did not ask if I was permitted to take communion – I was offered it, and she was grateful to serve. I returned to my pew and continued my ritual kneeling. It was a great beautiful outpouring of love. The sermon of LIGHT in the darkness also included certain personal aspects of a short but appreciated life, especially how our friend loved making a difference in people’s lives. Well, today was no exception, everyone had an opportunity to know that he loved the Lord and the Lord loved him too.

Everyone was able to talk to the Lord. We were all reminded that the LIGHT is going to overcome darkness, always. I pray that everyone listens, feels, wants for the SNAP and reaches thru the veil to see and feel the LIGHT of Jesus.

We are found wretched – we were lost – we are found – and now we see.

Thank You Jesus.

Amen

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