Come Down O Love Divine
Yesterday afternoon I was blessed to be the celebrant at at service of Holy Communion at The Washington Home. What a joy. As many know the long standing relationship between St. Alban's Church and the Washington Home is ending after many years.
It's now been a year or so since the Washington Post announced the news that the Washington Home wasn't long for the world. Despite that news the lay volunteers from St. Alban's have faithfully continued their ministry to the residents who remain there as they have witnessed the population of the home dwindling. Not long ago on Sunday afternoons the small chapel in the home would be filled with 20 + residents and yesterday the six volunteers from St. Alban's outnumbered those who were brought to the chapel for Eucharist.
Despite predictions we still don't know exactly when the last service at the Washington Home will be. After the service yesterday Liz Leland, a parishioner who has organized St. Alban's ministry to the residents there for 20+ years, told me that she'd try to find out. But we know what the answer is: St. Alban's will hold services of prayer and Eucharist at the Washington home until there is no one left to hold services for. And perhaps then we will gather to say one last prayer of consecration as we say farewell to a place that has been a source of strength and prayer for the lonely and the dying and, thanks be to God, for the faithful like Liz and so many others parishioners at St. Alban's.
Cell phones and liturgy aren't often good partners but I couldn't help myself yesterday, taking these pictures of God's love from behind the altar:
What makes places sacred, what makes them holy, is when people make God welcome there. No matter where we are we are standing on Holy ground if we are in environments where God is pleased to dwell. For so many years now the Chapel at the Washington Home has been such a place. Thank you Liz, thank you Gordon and Gretchen and thanks to all of the St. Alban's faithful have made the Chapel at The Washington Home such a place.
Come down, O Love divine, seek this soul of mine, and visit it with thine own ardor glowing; O Comforter, draw near, within my heart appear, and kindle it, thy holy flame bestowing.
O let it freely burn, till earthly passions turn to dust and ashes in its heat consuming; and let thy glorious light shine ever on my sight, and clothe me round, the while my path illuming.
And so the yearning strong, with which the soul will long, shall far out-pass the power of human telling; for none can guess its grace, till Love create a place where-in the Holy Spirit makes a dwelling.