As an executive coach I hear lots of stories. I work with pastors and hear of the joys and struggles of leading congregations. Sometimes the stories are deeply moving.
The pastor received a call from a stranger. “Does your church take communion to people at the nursing home?”
“Yes, we do.”
“We moved my mother here so she could be closer to us. She misses her church back home. Would it be possible to take her communion when you go there?”
“Certainly! We would be happy to.”
The pastor and a couple from the church went to see the woman on a Saturday after they had had a workday cleaning up the property. The woman welcomed them into her room. They served her communion and tears began running down her cheek. Through sobs she thanked them for coming and sharing the Lord’s Supper with her. She then told them this story:
“On Easter I was watching a worship service on TV and the minister said that we could take communion wherever we were. Since I eat in the dining hall for all my meals, I didn’t have any bread for communion. So, I tore off a piece of paper and chewed it. I then took some water (I remember that Jesus turned water into wine) and I took a drink of water.”
Oh, our longing to be connected!! The mother who was now exiled from her home and living in a refugee camp for the aged longed to be connected to her community of faith. She wept tears of joy because members of her Christian community came to welcome her to a new home with them. She could not only receive the gifts of bread and cup from the hands of another, but she didn’t have to eat alone. Chewing paper is a poor substitute for the touch of a human hand that offer us symbols of God’s love.