Preparing for Worship

by | Sep 2, 2022 | Preparing For Worship

Preparing for Worship – Mark Wingfield.


This week I asked a friend a question that once upon a time saved my life.

“Will you promise me that if you intend to harm yourself you will call me first and give me a chance?” Silence on the other end of the phone. “I need you to promise me,” I implored. Silence, followed by a quiet voice, “Yes, I promise.”

My friend recently lost his husband, his partner of 32 years. He is devastated. This is not how their life was supposed to be. He is lonely and scared and mad. Three days after the funeral, he wasn’t sure he wanted to keep on living. He wanted to be with his beloved husband.

“You are needed here,” I told him. “We need you. We all love you.”

I understand that feeling that maybe everything would be better if you just weren’t here anymore. I’ve been there. And Jakob Topper, then a pastoral resident at Wilshire, is the one who threw me a lifeline. He made me promise I would call him before I harmed myself.

Four years ago, after suffering a spinal cord injury, I had to learn to see life in a new perspective. Things had not turned out the way I thought they would. In those dark days, I began to receive Communion in a new way and with a new attitude.

Having been raised in a Southern Baptist church in Oklahoma, I never had learned to be sentimental about the Lord’s Supper; it was something we observed once a quarter on a Sunday night so that no one would confuse us with the Catholics and so that non-church members were less likely to be present.

But that year, in that season, receiving Communion became like a medical treatment for me. As I received the bread and the cup, I imagined that these very elements had the power to convey the healing I so desperately wanted. They became, to me, like divine pills filled with the grace of God. And in these moments, I found myself born anew. Not healed in the way I wanted, but yet hopeful.

Four years down the road, I’m not as mindful of this lesson as I should be. But every once in a while, something jolts me back to awareness, just as the phone call with my friend this week. My friend needs the help of the Holy Spirit, the healing power of Jesus, the everlasting love of God. And don’t we all today?

What if we thought of Communion Sunday as Healing Sunday? What if we received the bread and the cup today as though they were — as though they are — divine pills filled with the grace of God?