So this is happening.
I caught a glimpse Saturday night of what it might be like, if my friend and colleague Denise and I find ourselves elected to serve as Co-Moderators of the 222 General Assembly of the PCUSA in 2016.
When Cindy Bolbach was Moderator (2010-2012), she occasionally phoned me from Holiday Inns in small towns across the country to review her day and share the things she could not share widely. There were lonely nights and funny encounters. There were also random blessings.
Last Saturday night, on the way to celebrate a church anniversary with a congregation in Indiana during the first snow storm of the year, I checked into a hotel and was asked by the two women behind the desk why I was in town. I said that I was preaching at a church’s 175th anniversary in the morning and without hesitation they asked me if I would pray for them. Absolutely.
Me: How can I pray for you, Sheila*? (She was wearing a name tag.)
Sheila: Things are just not going very well. Just pray about that.
Other Desk Worker: Please pray for my kids. I have seven kids.
Me: What’s your name? I see Sheila’s name tag, but what’s yours?
Me: I will definitely pray for you both. Thank you.
[Note: Lesson One is that I should have asked if I could pray for them then and there, but I was really tired and I didn’t. Next time.]
Every single day, we meet people in need of a holy connection. They might be hurting or tired or afraid. In some places there are still people who seek out a clergy person to pray for them, hoping against hope that those prayers will make a difference. But this is a blessing that all people of faith – clergy or not – should be willing and equipped to offer.
There will be more of those moments if Denise and I find ourselves in the role of GA Co-Moderators. But I imagine a world in which all people of faith would make ourselves available to connect those in need with The Holy.
For today, please pray for the two hotel workers. God knows their real names.