There’s an old well on our property. As far as we know, it hadn’t been used since the late 70’s. Nearly 50 years of muck built up over the years it sat forgotten in the field. We installed a new line and pump, and daily we pumped out the brackish water. Day after day the result was the same; hundreds of gallons of undrinkable water came up out of the well…until one day it began to clear. Today it flows clear and clean, but it required that daily-emptying before becoming a life-giving source.
It has been two years this month since I resigned as pastor of New Beginnings Church, but it was just few days ago that we returned from attending their 25th anniversary celebration. It was a wonderful and important day; a day that reflected the future rather than the past.
For the close of the anniversary celebration, I was asked to offer the Words of Institution. I received the invitation as an honor…to echo Jesus’ words at the Last Supper. As I stood before the people, I began with these simple words:
“I’m told that the eu in Eucharist comes from the Greek word meaning well (well-being) and kharis meaning grace. Perhaps then, we could say the Eucharist is a grace that makes us well.
It seems this is how God chooses to remember us. It’s how we are encouraged to remember one another. Perhaps it is why Jesus uses the painful and ugly memory of his own death to mark the salvific beauty of forgiveness and new life.
Anxiety is not well. Fear is not well. Shame is not well. Isolation is not well. It is in the intentional practice of grace-filled remembering that well-being is found. It is a daily rhythm in which we choose to live. I suppose we could say that wellness flows from the spring of thanks-giving.”
During the 25th anniversary celebration, the church gave us a gift: a Eucharist cup and bowl. It’s a grace-well…and a grace that leads toward wellness. The grace they offered is received, and will be extended as we share with others. It is a well from which we will choose to draw daily.