Mike and I volunteered to serve communion on World Communion Sunday last October. We were assigned to the right balcony on the east side of the sanctuary.
We normally sit on the main level, so being placed "above" gave us a new perspective on worship. After the sermon, we left our pew and went to a small table in the hallway where we found a chalice filled with grape juice and a loaf of bread wrapped with a burgundy towel.
After the communion liturgy, the congregation began to make their way to where we were standing.
"The body of Christ broken for you," I said, handing a small piece of bread to the person in my row.
"The blood of Christ shed for you," Mike said as each one dipped his or her piece of bread in the juice.
The last three people to take communion we knew from the last church Mike pastored: John, and his son, Sam and Sam's wife.
As we were driving home after the service, Mike commented, "The last time I gave communion to John, he was one of the people making life difficult at the church. What a difference twenty-two years makes."
In 1997, after Mike had been at Fishers United Methodist Church for a year, a lesbian couple became members. Many people were uncomfortable having these two women and their son as part of the congregation. John and his wife, were among the most vocal in protest. Eventually, over forty families left the church, including John and his family. Those days brought great challenge to Mike as he dealt with the conflict.
Just a few months ago, Mike saw John at Starbucks. They caught up on what happened in John's life , including the death of his wife. As they talked, John apologized for his actions, and words spoken many years ago, offering Mike a sense of resolution of a difficult situation.
John came full circle with Mike over a chalice of grape juice and a loaf of bread. In the brokenness of the body of Christ there is love, understanding and acceptance.
The body of Christ broken for you ... for us.
The blood of Christ shed for you ... for all of us.
1. Is there someone in your life with whom you've had conflict or disagreement?
2. Have you resolved or made an effort to talk about the difficulty and come to a place of reconciliation?
3. Ask God for clarity as you remember and consider a new way of being with the individual.
Prayer: Thank you, God, for the way healing comes in your children. Grant us wisdom and vision to "mend our fences" so we can offer peace and acceptance to all. Amen.