Sunday, February 5, 2012

Super First Sunday

3:36 p.m. Today's project was to prepare, eat and enjoy Super Bowl snacks with Steve before and during the game. We'll need to leave our house before the game is over to attend our weekly Home Fellowship Bible study, but we don't mind. For the first time in our marriage, it will just be the two of us here!

Like all other Sundays, we began our morning headed out to the 9:45 service at Calvary Chapel. I somehow reflected on today's date, and uh-oh, it was the first Sunday of the month, Communion Sunday! Why the trepidation over an ordinance of the Church that Christ commanded, and which I have taken part several times a year, and even conducted myself at women's Bible studies, conferences and retreats over the last 32 years? At Jesus' last Passover supper with His disciples, Luke 22:19-20 tells us,

  And He took bread, gave thanks, and  broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me."
  Likewise, He also took the cup after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you."

The answer to the "trepidation" question is that passing the trays of communion elements each month is a real test of balance and alacrity on my part. Steve's hands shake so badly when a task is unexpectedly thrust at him that either tray could go flying! (And even though Communion is announced by the pastor, Steve in his dozing state does not hear it, or if he does, would not recognize what John is talking about). Last time, I was holding two tiny grape juice-filled cups and the usher, our friend Jimmy Kamio, had to get the tray off my lap! No harm done, but those were some scary moments. You just don't want to disrupt the work of the Holy Spirit in such a worshipful, serious atmosphere with a major fiasco.

So, as we traveled east along the 60 Freeway, I told Steve, "We need to pray for communion today, " and we did. We both felt reassured that God would take care of the matter, because Psalm 138:8 promises,

The LORD will perfect all that concerns me.

We always sit on the right side of the church, about two-thirds of the way back, arriving early to occupy the aisle seats. The ushers know Steve's situation and that I might have to take him out,  so we are able to let late arrivals slip by us instead of scooting over. It is helpful at Communion time as well, so the usher can assist me without disturbing anyone.

Today, I reached over Steve to take the tray of crackers from the next lady over while he was singing with his eyes closed, oblivious. I gave him his piece, got mine and helped him grasp it, something that took a few moments, even though I'd selected a big piece for him to make it easier. While he stared at it querulously, I just kept whispering, "Wait!" so he wouldn't follow a natural impulse and crunch on it. So far, so good, the first part of Communion was a success for Steve.

The real challenge is the grape juice. The beautiful silver tray is pretty heavy when it's full, but again, I smoothly took the tray while Steve's eyes were closed. Concentration on worship would be a luxury for his caretaker!  The Lord gave me the quick idea of taking two cups in one hand, and holding the tray with the other. That worked, and the usher came by before Steve would want to hold his own cup despite his severely shaking hands. At just the right moment, I handed him his cup and told him to drink it, a challenge these days since he purses his lips whenever he's drinking anything, not letting in nearly enough liquid. So he began doing this and I whispered, "Just drink it down," because the ceremony was ending and people would be passing the plastic cups down the row. The cups were nicely collected and the service ended with me thanking God for being true to His word, and for allowing Steve to take Communion once again!

I don't know what the future First Sundays hold, but I know Who holds the future!

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