As the sun rises here on our first workday here at Rancho Santa Marta, our team begins to rouse from what appears to have been a very solid night’s sleep. While lights out was at 11:00, in the guys dorm snoring had commenced in earnest by 10:40. If this is any indication of what lies ahead, this may be one of the best rested teams in recent memory.
Before we explore what lies ahead, we should stop and note the foundation of what we are about here. This was in evidence as we gathered for our opening worship in the chapel at the top of the hill. After all the spirited conviviality at dinner (Karen’s perennial hit, spaghetti with sausage), we came together to sing, hear of God’s love and grace that has brought us here, and to be fed spiritually for the week ahead in the Bread broken and the Cup shared.
One of the highlights of our worship was the message by Anna. She reflected on the passage in the Gospel according to Luke in which Martha was so anxious about all the work to be done when Jesus visited, while her sister Mary found peace and joy by in Christ’s loving presence. Anna told of how there have been times at Santa Marta that she has gotten so worked up in the work, that she has not always appreciated Christ’s peace. Nevertheless, the grace of Jesus prevails, and that if we stop an notice, we all will know that love and peace in the week before us. It was a wonderful way to begin.
Pastor Ben from Faith Lutheran Church celebrated Communion with us. One moment I know we will all remember was when Ben regaled us with some of the finer points of the development of Christian worship, particularly the original meaning of the cloth napkin we use at communion we call a “purificator”. Delving into the depths of spiritual wisdom he revealed the inner meaning of this strangely named cloth: to keep flies out of the wine.
We were less certain what to make of the fact that the purificator had failed in its primary duty. Two flies had found their way into the chalice and were blithely floating in the wine. This evoked the response from Jill, “Pastor, there is a fly in my wine!” In a show of ecumenical cooperation and solidarity, I provided a scrap of paper to fish the errant insects out of the wine.
This morning we will be joining the children of Santa Marta for their weekly flag salute, and a tour by Rod, the director, of the Rancho. Then work assignments and off to work.
Keep us in your prayers!
(Still working on uploading pics. Bear with me!)