I had all but forgotten that it was my turn to be a greeter at Sunday School today, but my phone beeped helpfully at me, and I was able to get to church a few minutes before I needed to be there. We were standing there chatting with Rev. Lanita Monroe when she asked me – apologizing for the short notice – if I would assist in Communion.
I was delighted. I don’t do it that often, and I consider it a privilege. I was thinking about this just a week ago while listening to this excellent episode of The Liturgists Podcast, featuring Rachel Held Evans talking about her book “Searching For Sunday,” which I’m reading right now. Both Rachel and one of the regular hosts – I can’t remember whether it was Michael Gungor or “Science Mike” McHargue – told the stories of what it meant to them to serve communion for the first time. (By the way: Check out The Liturgists Podcast. It’s excellent.)
And today was actually World Communion Sunday. I’ll let Chuck tell you about it:
So, I assisted. As a lay speaker, I find it’s amazing how many little details you don’t think about in worship until you happen to find yourself responsible for them. I wasn’t sure which direction to go, or when to move. Was I going to fast? Was I holding the tray too high for people to reach comfortably?
It all worked, and it’s wonderful to watch the variety of people in church – young and old, men and women, what have you – receiving the sacrament. We have two different people at church who are in wheelchairs with severe mobility or muscular issues, and in both cases a family member has to gently put the little piece of bread in their mouth and gently hold the little glass cup up to their lips. It’s a powerful thing to see up close – the body of Christ, broken for you; the blood of Christ, shed for you.
Next Sunday, First UMC will play host to 13 other churches for their charge conferences – an annual meeting at which various church reports are turned over to the district superintendent for approval, and at which each church approves various committees and leadership positions for the coming year. In the past, each church would host its own charge conference, but this year they’re being done in county-wide batches at central locations, and at each such location there will be a combined worship service following the separate business meetings.
Anyway, the district director of lay speaking/lay servant ministries, Ruthan Patient, has asked me to help her next Sunday in greeting and guiding the various church members as they arrive. We’ll have someplace for each church to wait until it’s time for that church to meet with the D.S. I always enjoy working with Ruthan, and so it should be a fun afternoon.