A couple weeks ago, just before I left on a trip to California to visit my family, I received an invitation from the rector of my church to prayerfully consider becoming a chalice minister for our Sunday evening contemplative eucharist service.
(A chalice minister is someone who helps the priest prepare the bread and wine and then stands next to the priest during the celebration, offering the cup of Christ to those coming to receive it.)
To say I was thrilled is an understatement. I’m pretty sure it’s the first time the deacon who called me with the invitation ever received the response of someone whooping in her ear!
It was a moment of revelation and amazement, and let me tell you why.
If you’ve been reading along here or on Still Forming for any length of time, you know that images figure prominently in my prayer life. It’s been this way in my life with God for well over a decade.
And several years back, the image of a communion cup showed up. It was a golden chalice, and swirling around in the wine inside of it were me and God. (You can read more about this story here.)
This image presented itself at a time when I was growing in my sense of pure communion with God, but it also began to carry, pretty early on, a sense of a priestly calling. I didn’t really know what that meant — I mean, I didn’t have the sense I was meant to be ordained as an actual priest — so I just carried that sense of priestly calling with me for about a year, just trusting God would help me understand it more when it was time for me to know.
Then, about a year later, as I was struggling through some aspects of my relationship with Jesus primarily having to do with how I communicate that relationship to others, I came to a place of understanding that one of the marks of my vocation is to be that of “presenting Christ.” I wrote at the time:
“There’s been this continued sense that my calling is to present Christ to others — in the same way that a priest presents the body and blood of Christ to others in eucharist.”
(You can read more about my coming to understand that mark of my vocation here.)
I knew at the time that this call to “present Christ” was connected to that image of the communion cup I’d been given the previous year. And I’ve been carrying that understanding of my calling, connected to that image of the chalice, ever since.
And so when I received that call with the invitation to become a chalice minister, I knew immediately I wanted to say yes. It was just so obviously right, right? I could hardly believe it was happening. It humbled me so much.
I agreed to take the next week to prayerfully hold the invitation, just to allow there to be room for a confirmation in spirit, and I’m so glad I did.
My response to that invitation still turned out to be yes — I’m going to be meeting with the deacon this week to learn more about the process — but before I said yes, I needed to work through one visceral roadblock that presented itself to me pretty immediately. It’s a roadblock that had to do with that ongoing image of the animal creature I’ve been telling you about the last couple months.
I’ll tell you more about that part next week.
But today, I’d love to hear from you. How has God been working in your own life lately? If you’d care to share, I’d love to hear it.