Flower fund

There is a flower fund at the church I went to. It pays for the flowers behind the altar, but it also pays for the wine and the wafers used for Communion.

Often people give to the flower fun in thanksgiving for something good – a birthday or an anniversary, for instance.

But it is also given in memory of someone who died. Some of those deaths are natural. Someone died after a good long life, well lived. But some of those deaths are tragic – accidents, suicide, crib death.

We eat joy and sadness when we share Communion together. Those wafers and that wine were bought with money in memory or honor or thanksgiving of those very human events.

We eat them together, kneeling, at the altar. This is a profound thing. This is a healing thing.

I know people who think they are too sinful to go to church. This is like saying they can’t go to the gym because they are too fat. Church isn’t about being holy. It is about being whole. It is about accepting and sharing our joyful and sad times together.

But church isn’t about a building or a denomination. It is about being part of the Body of Christ. We are all members of the same Church, regardless of creed or ritual, or tradition, regardless of whether we go on Sundays or Saturdays, or not at all. We are all called, and we all serve in our own way, according to our calling.

What “altar” really means.

The Hebrew word for altar is
מזבח

Mem, Vav, Vet, Chet. (read right to left)

Each letter of the Hebrew alphabet has a meaning, and if you string those meanings together, you can understand what the word truly means.

Mem means – water with no boundaries, chaos.
Vav means – “and”, hook, nail
Vet (also Bet) – means tent, house, enclosure
Chet means – fence, separate, a new beginning or new creation.

Together, this can be taken to mean “From the waters of chaos I have rescued you and brought you into a new life.”

It refers to the waters from the beginning of time – when “God moved over the waters” to create the world. It refers to the waters of the Red Sea, through which God sent Israel to escape from slavery in Egypt. It refers to the waters of the womb, where God creates us by dividing us, dividing the cells into their individual roles – an eye here, a stomach there…

God separates us, divides us to form us, to make us unique. God “hooks” us, grabs us, takes us into the tent, the house of God. The tent can be seen as the tabernacle, the same temporary house of Sukkot, the temporary dwelling of our bodies.