Thursday, March 19, 2015

Order of Service

On Sunday, as we always do, our remnant of the faithful gathered in a worn and old church. Faded glory and ancient wisdom hung thick in the air as the musicians played the meditation before service. Just as the music quieted and the preacher drew his breath to begin, the crash of two cars colliding outside the church rang through the sacred hall. Nobody was seriously injured in the accident, though the people involved were far from happy, and within a moment or two the police were on the scene. The church service had to continue, and so the hymns were sung accompanied by sirens as well as piano, red and blue flashes added to the flicker of candles and the jeweled rays of sunlight passed through stained glass. The chaos of the world slipped right into the order of the service. This could have been distracting, the holy spell of the temple broken by the profane world nudging through the door, but it wasn’t. The shrill screams of the sirens made the beauty in the melodies more pronounced. The chaos of flashing lights and raised voices made the peace and order of the service appear more fragile and more precious than it had before. Order added balance to the chaos outside and chaos added body and depth to the order of the service. A dying person is in the street, out at the accident, amongst the brokenness, the noise, and the fear. We show up among the dying with more than meds, more than strength, and more than skill. We bring expertise in the face the unknown, calm in the face of calamity, hope to confront disappear. We walk the dying from the chaos of illness into the sanctuary of care. It is there in that place where order and chaos, life and death bleed together. It is there that miracles happen. That is the place we are blessed to do our work.


  1. I'm really enjoying your reflections, Matt. They capture the spiritual depth I feel working with my patients and their families. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts.

  2. Thanks Helen and thank you for following