Monday, December 19, 2011

on helping to serve the eucharist (for the first time)

Standing next to my pastor,
holding the wine,
I have this thought:
“I do not belong here.”

The clay cup is heavy
and cool in my hands.
The wine is dark
and brooding.

Declaring to the gently
stooped woman standing before me:
“The blood of Christ, shed for you,”
I feel a sense of loss.

When she whispers “amen,”
I hear my doubts on her lips.

Handing the cup back,
she smiles, but not at me.
And I realize that she has received
something that was never mine 
to give.

I turn to the next person in line,
and the next and the next,
blinking back tears,

feeling holy
and undeserving;
with each “amen,”

that both are true.

                  - richard russeth


  1. And Amen. Well written. And heartfelt. From a friend of a friend, what a blessing!

  2. Russel: Can I have your permission to submit this poem to our church newsletter? [If yes, do you want your blog URL as part of the credit?]

    The first half expresses exactly the concern people have raised with me when I ask them to assist. And ends with the words I haven't been able to find to explain why they should think again about helping out.

  3. Miranda, please feel free to publish in your church newsletter. A blog URL would be great but please put my name in as well "Richard Russeth"...thanks!!!