Sunday, February 9, 2014

Messy Communion

Hiding at the back of the chancel as part of the worship team, I sometimes get to see the messy side of Sunday morning. This is a true story from a few weeks ago.

It’s time for communion. The ushers are making their way through the congregation, passing trays of bread and juice. The pastor is delivering a beautiful reminder of what this sacrament is all about. The pianist skillfully keeps the background music going to set the solemn atmosphere.

And while the pastor prays and asks everyone to "eat the bread in remembrance of me"…a poor guitar player is scrambling.

Sometimes the worship team takes communion together before second service, but this Sunday we thought we would try taking it along with the congregation. Our awesome man-behind-the-scenes thoughtfully laid out the elements before service started, so they’re patiently waiting there on the edge of the piano.

But this Sunday, the worship team is guitar heavy.

Four players – three guitars and one bass – are all in a row, and suddenly all four of them need to turn around to pick up their cups and wafers without also whacking each other with the necks of their instruments.  Two of the guys quickly realize they can duck back a bit and lean in to reach their bits of bread and juice. But for the guitarist right in front of the waiting elements and there’s really no easy or graceful way for him to turn around and pick them up. It takes him a moment to figure it out, and by the time he’s got it, the rest of the congregation has already moved passed the “taking” portion of communion and is on to the follow-up prayer.

I see him pause for the briefest instant (perhaps he’s asking himself, “Now what? Do I still take it?”), before he quickly eats his wafer and drinks his juice, finishing mere seconds before the pastor wraps up his prayer.

I don't think anyone else witnessed his struggle...but I did.  And in that moment, God whispered to my heart, “Yes. I’m with you always. In the messy moments too. Remember me.

God with us.

In our messy moments.

When things don’t go smoothly or as planned.

He’s still right there.

Sharing it all with us.

He doesn’t abandon us for the crowd.

He’s the kind of shepherd who reaches for the one.

How often do I lose sight of that and forget to remember he's right there?  Always.

I don’t know if that guitar player felt the same encouragement and reassurance as I did during that communion. (I hope so.) All I know is, I’m really thankful for my little hiding place on Sunday mornings. Sometimes it’s right where I need to be to hear his voice.

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