Sunday morning. Usually we have a pal for at least one of the boys. But not this Sunday. On a day like this, either Neil or I will watch the boys, and the other will attend the service. We take turns. However, this Sunday, Neil and I are supposed to help serve communion, an opportunity we both don’t want to miss.
In our church, several couples volunteer and are appointed to specific locations around the perimeter of the sanctuary. Neil and I usually have a back corner. As music plays, ushers direct each row of people to a station.
As each congregant takes a turn tearing off a piece of the bread I’m holding, I look at them and say, “The body of Christ, broken for you.” Then as they pass Neil, he offers a tiny cup of juice and says, “The blood of Christ, shed for you.”
In those few seconds, as each one stops to receive the bread (or gluten free cracker), time suspends just long enough to personally remeber the reason for Christ’s death. One might think that saying the same thing over and over would make the remembrance less meaningful. Not so. In fact, without trying to sound sacrilegious, I feel it’s as though I can almost glimpse Christ’s point of view from the cross as He sees each individual’s face and extends His forgiveness for our wrong-doing. Some come with a heart prepared to receive what He offers. Others come, but cannot make eye contact, almost as though shame still blocks their way. But still, they come.
Once everyone is served and back in their seats, our pastor gives the final reminder: “On that night, Jesus took the bread and He broke it saying, ‘This is My body, broken for you. Take, eat, and remember Me.’ Then Jesus took the cup and said, ‘This is My blood shed for You. Drink all of it, and remember Me.'” And together, as the bride of Christ, we remember why we are here. Not just Sunday morning. But everyday, living this life.
Only thirty minutes earlier, still on our way to church, my phone vibrated. Text message from Judah’s pal read, “Hey, Becky, I’ve hurt my ankle and am unable to walk without a pretty bad limp…” After several more texts, we concluded God would take care of it. No worries!
Now, here we were minutes before serving, and we still didn’t have anyone to hang out with Noah and Judah. To boot, as soon as we walked through the church doors, Judah took off running. So, while Neil was searching the campus for Judah, I was busy brainstorming our options. This is not how I saw this morning playing out.
Then it hit me. Why not have them serve with us? I could actually visualize it working out, although maybe not completely without flaw. Would Noah stand still? Would Judah taste test the bread before taking off again?
In my head, it seemed like a great opportunity for a teachable moment for Noah and Judah, maybe even the congregation. Would people be understanding or annoyed? Maybe it was time we learned to be the body of Christ. Why not?
After quickly getting the pastor’s permission to proceed, while Neil continued his search for Judah, I began prepping Noah. “Noah, would you like to help Dad and me serve communion?
“Yes.” His bewildered expression conflicted with his answer. So, I briefly explain it.
“Okay, here’s what you say, Noah: ‘The body of Christ, broken for you.’ ”
I repeated that a few more times and had him repeat after me. Then the words sunk in. All of a sudden, Noah’s eyebrows wrinkled in worried concern. “Oh, no!”
” ‘Oh, no?’ Oh! That’s right, Noah! That was a big ‘oh no’! But it’s not ‘oh, no’. It was God’s plan of provision for us!”
“Yes, Jesus Christ was broken. His life was taken…”
“Oh, NO! He’s BROKE!”
“But, Noah, He’s not still ‘broke.’ He’s all better. He is alive today!”
“All better? Not broken.” His expression changed from worry to reassurance.
“Yes. We’re just remembering that His body was broken. We remember His brokenness in order to remember our brokenness. Remember, Noah? His forgiveness makes us clean inside.” (see post https://mosaiclifeblog.wordpress.com/2015/09/10/cleaned-up-for-a-bath/). Now Jesus is alive. Not broken. And His forgiveness makes us not broken anymore, too. We are alive because He lives.”
Did Noah understand? I don’t know. I’ll just let the Holy Spirit take care of that. I was beginning to wonder if this was a good idea after all. I mean, would Noah understand that the sourdough bread is just a symbol of Christ’s body, and we don’t actually pray to a loaf of bread?
I was having my doubts when Neil walked around the corner with Judah and Kyle, Judah’s limping pal. Apparently, Kyle texted one of his buddies who was sitting in the service and asked if he could help out. A few minutes later, Neil and I were shaking hands as introductions were made. Our new friend was happy to watch the boys while we served communion.
On the way home, I began thinking about the way our morning played out. Often, it can look like life is going awry. But I’d have to say that although our morning caught us off guard, God was not scrambling for Plan B.
I mean, when you have kids that never ask questions about anything, how do you just slide the topic of “why we take communion” into a conversation? Or how does a parent “organically” create a situation to explain why we remember Christ’s death? It can be difficult enough to grasp as an adult or a child with no neurological disabilities. Throw autism into the mix, and the challenge increases. However, while our abilities are limited and even “broken” in places, God’s Spirit is not.
In the words of Joni Eareckson Tada, “If you are paralyzed, you can still walk with God. If you are deaf, you are still able to hear the Word of God. If you are blind, you are, nevertheless, able to see the Light. And even if you are mentally handicapped, you can still have the Mind of Christ” (Joni Eareckson Tada, God’s Word on Disability, p.432).
Nothing catches God off guard. All God’s provision in His time…
Everything, perfectly, according to plan —His plan.