Sunday, July 10, 2011

A gift in this year: Serving Eucharist.

"Take this in remembrance that Christ died for you,
and feed on Him in your hearts by faith, with thanksgiving."

"The body of Christ, the bread of heaven."
"The blood of Christ, the cup of salvation."

I pick up my tray, check on the sheet which aisle I am assigned to, walk over and take my place.

There I stand as they file down. Parents with their children, a baby on one hip and a toddler or two in tow. Young adults, and elderly couples who hold each other's shaking hands as they walk down the aisle. Little girls in twirly dresses with matching headbands, skipping more than they walk. Fellow Wheaton grads sitting together in groups. Faces I recognize, faces I don't. They file down. They pause at the deacon, take the bread. They stop and take the wine from the chalice, or they come to me.

"The blood of Christ, the cup of salvation."

I don't always make eye contact- I wait. I remember what Nancy, the Eucharist ministry coordinator and one of my favorite people, says about how she serves it- she takes a step back, leaving them room to meet with God, but she prays for them as they drink. I pray for each one of them- specifics if I know them. I pray "Lord, bless her today", "Bless him", as they tip it, drink and walk on. I affirm His love for them as best I can for that moment they are in front of me, meeting Him.

Meeting Him.

I get to watch them as they meet Him.

"The blood of Christ, the cup of salvation."

"What we... must realize, is that all our intellectual articulations about this sacrament are but feeble human attempts to comprehend the basic mystery of God's unconditional loving acceptance of us, His children."

 The mystery is unfolding in front of me.
Every week, as I stand there, it is not just balancing the tray and timing the saying and checking to make sure I have enough cups for the people in line. It is those things, but I am seeing the mystery. I am standing in front of the mystery.

"On the night He was handed over to suffering and death, our Lord Jesus Christ took bread; and when He had given thanks to You, He broke it, and gave it to His disciples, and said, “Take, eat: This is My Body, which is given for you. Do this for the remembrance of Me."

It is acceptance by Him. It is intimacy with Him, unconditional on how we feel or what we say.
It is His body, given to us.

Sometimes they're crying as they take it. Not infrequently. Oh, do I long and pray for the ones who cry; and my heart swells with wanting to offer them comfort- but more it swells with hope that they are receiving it... and with gratitude and awe that the meaning of this cup, can bring them to tears.

I love when they do look into my eyes, and I get to smile into theirs as they drink.
"The blood of Christ, the cup of salvation."

I always try to pick up the tray instead of the chalice because it holds the non-alcoholic wine and I love serving the children. They come, too. The babies, even, and I love watching their parents hold the cup to their lips and minister this living grace to them. I love praying for those babies and their sweet lives the Lord is at work in, as they drink it, too.
I love the toddlers who pick it up all by themselves, so proudly. I squat down to serve it to them, and I say the words to them, too, just the same.
"The blood of Christ, the cup of salvation."
"Say 'Amen', buddy!"
I'm not sure I'm supposed to, but usually I whisper, "Good job!" as they carefully put the empty cup back.

I love when it's someone I know. We don't act differently, because we are all there as one family. But oh, how special it is to get to participate in that moment, that mystery, with someone I love deeply, whose life I get to share.
"The blood of Christ, the cup of salvation..."- I'm so grateful to get to say it to them.

 "The blood of Christ, the cup of salvation."
"The blood of Christ, the cup of salvation."
"The blood of Christ, the cup of salvation."

Over and over and over I say it, as they file down, as they take it, as they receive and as they meet Him. Over and over I get to see the mystery. Over and over I get to affirm His love and His work in them. Over and over I get to speak words that enter and comfort my heart, that are truth.

I am so grateful God gave me the great gift of serving Eucharist at Rez this year.

"Eternal God, Heavenly Father, You have graciously accepted us as living members of Your Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ;
and You have fed us with spiritual food through the Sacrament of His body and blood."

Thanking God for giving me the chance to serve communion this year.


1 comment:

thehindenburg said...

Not going to lie, I may quote this in an upcoming blog post.

Human Needs Global Resources Covenant, 2009

As fellow travelers on this journey, we commit to this covenant before God. Lord, in Your mercy, hear these our prayers:

When confronted with scarcity, need, and inadequacy, may we be nourished by the Bread of Life and the Cup of Salvation. Abundance overflows from Your table, sustaining all who come in faith. Father, help us.

When monotony blurs our vision and dulls our senses, may we encounter others as Christ did, through intentional presence in daily life, submitting as clay to be formed into vessels filled with the Spirit. Christ, guide us.

When wounded by the fractured condition of Your people, may we be united by Your Lordship in faith, hope, and love; seeing, as through the facets of a diamond, the beautiful spectrum of Your light reflected onto Your holy Church joined in praise. Spirit, empower us.

When all Creation groans, afflicted by injustice and driven to despair, may the promise of redemption root us in the hope of Your Kingdom: "Behold, I am making all things new!"

Holy Trinity, send us now into the world in peace, and grant us strength and courage to love and serve You with gladness and singleness of heart.