communion

Posted: March 6, 2013 in Uncategorized

I was new to the Board of Deacon and Deaconness.  The first time I served communion, I was just nervous about the logistics.  Where to stand, when to move, what if my tray ran out before the rows of people ran out.  My thoughts were all about “doing it right” and “not embarrassing myself.” 

At first, that is.

Once we had served the entire congregation, we sat in chairs there at the front, and…the pastor served us.  I remember having a panic reaction.  The pastor was high, high on a pedestal in my mind.  What is he doing?  He can’t serve ME!  I was humbled almost to the point of being incapacitated at the notion that this man who was, in my mind, a towering giant, would stoop to serve ME, of all people. 

Funny thing.  I had grown up hearing the story over and over, about how Jesus got up and wrapped a towel around his waist and washed the feet of the disciples.  It had only ever been a story.  I thought I understood all the nuance of it.  But really I hadn’t even begun to touch it until I was sitting there at the front of the church, wanting to beg the pastor not to serve me.  It was all I could do to graciously accept the elements as he brought them around.  It was a real and living lesson for me.

In the years since then, I have had a number of opportunities to serve communion again. I’m over the little worries like logistics and you can’t embarrass me by putting me at the front of almost any room, ever.  What I am consistently surprised about is:  serving communion just wrecks me. 

Like today.  I was slated to help my boss serve communion in our nursing center.  It was just another item on my checklist of things to do.  I was not praying on my way down to the room.  Was just walking along in multi-task mode. 

But finally, when my boss took over and started telling about Jesus and the “first communion,” all the mult- went away in me.  The world narrowed down to just this time, just this room, just these people.  I carried the tray of “bread” bits around and served.  I handed out little cups of grape juice. 

When I come to that focused place of serving communion, I feel what i can only explain as God’s love, pouring into me and out through me, for those whom I am serving.  My heart is made tender to the point of tears.  I am humbled to be permitted to be the one serving.  It makes me want to go to my knees.  I don’t have to THINK about praying – every breath, every motion, every step is a prayer. 

I’ve been asked to serve communion in churches, at Emmaus gatherings and at the last-ever Cornerstone Music Festival and in living rooms.  The surroundings don’t matter.  What matters is that, FOR ME, God meets me in a special way as I lift the trays or loaves or cup or whatever to serve.  His love for His people sings so loud it’s like a vibration in me.  It says holy, holy, holy in a strong and steady pulse within me. 

Ever experienced that?  You don’t have to wait to be asked to serve from the front of a room.  When you are passing the elements to the guy beside you in the pew…it’s totally available.  There is a gift inside of serving one another, that cannot be accessed by any other means than that service.  Don’t let the ceremony of it kill the mystery of it for you.  Enter in.  Let God love the next guy through you.

It’s the perfect tool to wreck yourself for anything less. 

 

 

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