by Laurie Gudim
Isaac carried the flag at the head of the procession on Sunday. He hadn’t been going to come to church at all, but his sleepover plans fell through. Both his dad and his sister were already employed as acolytes, and there he was, jobless.
Secretly I had been looking forward to carrying that flag. It is a corkscrew rainbow, and we only use it on special occasions. I love to set the colors spinning.
And it is not a simple task to carry it, either, especially not for a small person. One must wave it around energetically, not so low as to get the flag entangled in people’s hair and not so high as to get it caught in the ceiling fans. But there was Isaac, jobless.
Two days before I had seen him at the supermarket with his mother, begging supplies from passers by on behalf of those in our community experiencing homelessness. “We still need razors,” he told me, handing me a little slip of paper on which he had meticulously written out the items that the shelter was asking for.
“Razors,” I repeated solemnly, hoping I would be able to find some that were inexpensive enough to fit within the limited budget I had that day. And I must have done all right, because when I handed my selection to him later he ran with it to his mother, saying excitedly, “Look at these, mom. These are really nice!” Who could ask for a better compliment?
After he had dropped off the flag at the end of the service, Isaac stopped next to me where I was serving coffee. “You looked marvelous,” I told him.
“It was hard,” he replied, still amazed that it would have been.
“Yes,” I replied. “But pretty cool, too, don’t you think?”
He smiled, gave a quick nod and was away.
Thus Isaac and I called one another into service to Christ’s household this week. He handed me his slip of paper, and I handed him the flag. Both of us were slaves at work for our Master, begging, shelling out coins, and bringing the blessing of holy worship to our people. For me this is church at its best, this being tapped by one another. Tapped, we turn and tap others, and they in turn respond. We live out God’s mission, becoming the people God dreamed us to be before we were even born.
Laurie Gudim is a writer and religious iconographer who lives in Fort Collins, CO. You can view some of her work at Everyday Mysteries.