A Worn Piece of Carpet

A Worn bit of Carpet

It's a worn bit of carpet in the Chapel of Our Lady at Christchurch Hamilton. It’s just in front of the altar where the priest stands and while it is not easy to spot, when you look for it, when you know it’s there… you can see it.

It makes sense of course, because every Saturday night and every Wednesday morning, this little bit of carpet gets its fair share of foot traffic by the priest.

I’m acutely aware of the countless other priests that have stood there since 1956. Twice a week, every week, for the last 67 years. No wonder the carpet is feeling a bit weary.

I’m also aware that long after I’m gone, other priests will stand in that same spot and do what I have been doing and say the words that I have been saying. An unbroken line of clergy with all their flaws, with all their gifts. All of us, just trying our best to be faithful and trying to respond to His loving request ‘Do this. Take, bless, break, distribute, eat.’

Sometimes we stand on that bit of carpet with broken hearts. Sometimes we stand there elated and joyous. Frequently we take to that place and space, the hopes and aspirations, the tears and drudgery of those who have blessed us with an insight into their lives. That bit of carpet in front of the altar is where we stand to unite heaven and earth.

Or is it that we stand there and understand that heaven and earth have always been interfused one with another? This is what the coming Christmass tide will teach us again.

On a worn bit of carpet, in a pungent stable, in the least likely of places, God chooses to envelop us once more.

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