I was standing behind the Communion Table, praying the Holy Spirit upon the elements, “Pour out your Holy Spirit on these gifts of bread and wine and make them be for us the body and blood of Christ that we may become Christ’s body for a hurting world.” Before I could finish that prayer, let alone the rest of it, I could see Fran in the aisle. Fran’s health wasn’t great and she dearly missed her husband of sixty-three years who had passed away months before. Fran began barreling her way up the aisle toward Communion, and tears were streaming down her face. She had a cane and a limp. It was hard, but she was passing all the others, row by row just to get there in a hurry. I finished the words of institution and came around the table to serve her Jesus’ gifts of grace. She took them, and muscled her way down to the kneeler just to the right of me. I was distracted because I could hear her prayer, “Lord, I have enough of you now to see tomorrow. Thank you Lord for being my enough. Thank you Lord.”
Fran was a long-time United Brethren and then United Methodist. I guess she had experienced more than enough times, the gift and reality that Jesus offers us through Communion. It is a Holy Mystery. Time and time again, Christ meets us through Communion. Communion is a means… vessel… conduit… experience… taste… of Christ’s free gift of grace. It was ordained for us by Jesus Christ so that we could experience His grace in a very real way, all the days of our lives. John Wesley, the founder of Methodism reminds us to take Communion AS OFTEN AS POSSIBLE. And that day, Fran couldn’t wait to open her tears, heart, and life to Christ’s gift again, so Fran all but ran down that church aisle.
I have regularly heard from folks in different churches that they don’t attend when it’s Communion Sunday, or they leave before it’s served. I’ve never understood that. Holy Communion is foundational to our faith. It isn’t an extra. It is us, admitting our desire, our need for Christ, and Him once again offering His everlasting grace to forgive, nourish, and empower us. Fran taught me well that day. Perhaps she has something to teach us all. Christ offers some of Himself in Communion. I don’t know about you, but there are many days I feel like I need to run down the aisle toward His presence. Thank God for the Bread of Life and the Cup of Salvation.
Community Life: What’s Happening at Old Bethel
The Old Bethel Hispanic Ministry Support Team met with Pastor Saul and Mrs. Irma to discuss the next steps in this growing ministry and to begin to prepare the quarterly report for the Office of Congregational Development through whom we received the grant.
The Trustees are continuing to create hospitable and usable ministry space through clean-up. They are in contact with different groups and are asking for organization and clean-up in respective areas by October 1.
Committee chairpersons are in the process of budget proposals. Each is working through a budget sheet. Those are coming due soon!
I have met with over a quarter of the worshipping congregation in the Hearts & Stories listening campaign. Groups have discussed Christ’s call in this chapter of this church’s 177 year journey. I’ll be sharing the information gathered at the Ad Council meeting Monday, September 28, at 7:00pm, which is open to all and also during the Stewardship Dinners/Luncheon in October.
Habitat for Humanity Methodist Build: Habitat for Humanity helps empower people to move into safe and secure homes. Each homeowner completes hundreds of hours of education and sweat equity in their new home and future. We have the opportunity to join in changing one family, their future generations, and ultimately the neighborhood in which that home is built. You don’t need any skills, just sign up and come. Openings are still available for the October 16 and 22 shifts. Sign up at the Habitat for Humanity table in the lobby or contact Ric Gasaway at 894-1431.
If you are interested in serving as a tutor/mentor once a week at Pleasant Run Elementary School for the 2015-16 school year, please contact Nancy Bellinger at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Serving Christ Together,