“The Last Shall Be…Left Out!”

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                                          March 4, 2013

The four servers returned to the front with the communion cup trays. My assistant and I prepared to receive them, proclaim the words of Jesus, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood! Whenever you drink of this cup you proclaim my death until I come again. Drink of it, each of you!”
But there was a problem. We looked down at the trays that the four servers were holding.

Empty. Empty. Empty. Empty.

Four sets of eyes looked up at us with a sense of “puppy-dogish-ness!” We had run out of communion before everyone was served. Or at least…six of us were served! It wasn’t because the sanctuary was so packed out that there simply wasn’t enough. For some reason our communion preparer has fixed less on this day than usual. In addition to that we had the celebration of communion as a part of the worship gathering in the midst of the service, as opposed to being at the end. Thus, the children who normally had been dismissed for “Children’s Church” were participating in communion with us.

The six of us at the front of the sanctuary, the last to be served, were now left out. Paul talked about the gluttonous Corinthians boozing up at the gatherings of the church in Corinth. Those who got there early were tipping back a few before late arrivers- those who had to work longer days- got there. The result would be a group that over-did and another group that did without.

But in our situation no one was tipping more than one of the tiny plastic communion cups.

And there was no “multiplying of the cups” miracle. We just did without.

Drink of it, most of you!”

The last shall be first, except on some communion Sundays where the last are just left out.

Perhaps some regular church attenders, rigid in ritual observance, committed to the faith while also being void of grace, would look at such an event and call for a congregational meeting. Some might have qualified it as sacrilegious. For us it just was…what it was! No one felt led to run down to the kitchen and see if there was any Baptist wine still in the frig (Welch’s Grape Juice). We just went on. In some ways there was a deeper bond that became a part of our gathering at that point. Our story together had just added another chapter.

It seemed fitting that those who served were the ones who didn’t have anything left for themselves. Serving the Lord is giving it up even when we realize there may not be anything left  for ourselves.

I’ve been to a few Baptist potlucks where the end of the line got fruit jello, and the front of the line had about five different layers of food smothering their plates. Communion, however, is a little different.

Maybe I should bring to our church leadership the idea of a “BYOB Communion Sunday.” Although it might be a little unnerving to look out at the congregation and suddenly seeing a bottle being passed back and forth in the back rows. Maybe we’ll have to do a “BYOGJ” instead- bring your own grape juice.

I think I’m going to inquire of my Lutheran friends to see if they have an extra chalice laying around some place. Would that be sacrilegious for a Baptist to use a Lutheran chalice…or vice-versa? I don’t know, but for at least one pastor this past Sunday’s communion was an intimate experience even though the cup was missing.

Explore posts in the same categories: Christianity, Community, Faith, Freedom, Grace, Humor, Jesus, love, Pastor, Story, The Church, Uncategorized

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