Monday, April 06, 2009

Lenten Reading: Mark 14: 1-26

Mark 14: 1-26

Leah was living under house arrest for stealing a car when I met her.

I visited with her each week for about six months. We talked about her life, and how God fit into it.

One day, as I was leaving one of our visits, she hesitated, and then asked, “Next time you come, can you bring Communion?”

I could have smacked myself for not thinking of it sooner. After all, that’s part of my job, isn’t it? To bring communion to those who can’t come to it?

The next week, I brought my communion kit and laid it out on her kitchen table. I apologized in advance for the stale wafers and cold red wine that had been left in my car over night.

Then, I look the bread in my hand and reminded her that:

In the night he was betrayed, our Lord Jesus took break, gave thanks, broke it, and gave it to his disciples saying ‘Take and eat, this is my body given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’

And after supper he took the cup, gave thanks and gave it to all to drink saying, ‘This cup is the New Covenant which is shed for you and for all people for the forgiveness of sins. Do this in remembrance of me.”

I handed her the bread and gave her God’s promise: This is the body of Christ, given for you.

Leah burst out crying. She grabbed a Kleenex and dabbed her eyes. “For ME?” she asked.

“For you,” I said.

She received the bread in her hand and put it in her mouth.

I took the cup and said, “The blood of Christ, shed for you.”

Leah brushed the hair from her face, dabbed her eyes again, took the cup, and put it to her mouth.

I was surprised that she, then took a wafer from the jar, and said, “The body of Christ, given for you, pastor.”

And handed me the bread.

Then she took the cup and placed it to my lips saying, “The blood of Christ, shed for you.”

I took her hand and said, “May the body of blood of our Lord Jesus Christ strengthen us and keep us in his grace. Amen.”

“Amen,” she said.

To the casual observer, this encounter looked like just another pastoral visit, two people doing what church folks are supposed to do.

But to God, to me, and to Leah, this was the biblical story jumping out from the pages.

Even though the bread was stale and the wine too cold, we shared communion not because of fancy church words or because one of us was wearing a dog collar, or even because we ate bread and drank wine, but because God was present, .

We shared communion because God made it so. God turned our eating and drinking into a feast of shared humanity; broken, frail, and in need of healing and forgiveness. That day, in her little apartment, I had the opportunity and privilege to see her as God sees her – as a beloved child.

Or I like how internet sage, Real Live Preacher puts it, “If the wafers are going stale for you, be the bread yourself. Break yourself open and nourish the world.

“If the communion table seems cheap and tacky, become a table yourself. Be a resting place for the weary.

“If you feel there are no more angels, pick up the phone and spread your own [glad] tidings.

“Gather your bread. Set your table. Shout your good news.

“Do these things in remembrance of him.” Or maybe, in remembrance of her.

No comments: