Today I helped Pastor Greg with a pastoral visit and home communion. I’ve been on several pastoral visits and helped to serve communion in worship, but this was my first experience bringing the bread and cup to an elderly member of the church who is unable to attend weekly worship anymore.
Her home was just a few blocks from the church building, so with our minister’s manuals and communion kit in hand, we walked through the bright afternoon sun to her doorstep. As we sat and chatted with this 95-year-old woman, she told us about her adventures in fixing her refrigerator and the weekly visits from folks who bring her Meals on Wheels. Her memory was remarkable; I had heard from other members of the church that she was pretty sharp, and today I could see it for myself.
When it came time for communion, Pastor Greg brought forth a small bottle of Mott’s grape-apple juice, and she offered some crackers that were easier for her to swallow than the church’s bread. Greg stepped into the kitchen and emerged with a familiar yellow box: Wheat Thins. He read the opening words and recounted the words of Jesus from Luke’s Gospel, “This is my body, given for you.” Holding the crackers, we broke them together. I read Jesus’ instructions, favorites of the Brethren, “Do this in remembrance of me.” With the tiny cups of juice in our hands we partook together, and closed in prayer.
It was a simple service that took no longer than 5 minutes. The Wheat Thins were…Wheat Thins. The juice…well, honestly Greg and I thought the grade-apple juice tasted more like sugar water than anything else. But even with crunchy crackers and a crappy cup, I still feel thankful. I am thankful to be in a church that’s pretty low maintenance when it comes to the elements of communion (transubstanti—what?). I am thankful to sit in fellowship and offer a simple service of Christian faith to a woman who was grateful for the company and the communion. But most importantly I was thankful for the ways in which God takes our ordinary things of life and turns them into items of blessing and promise.
I’ll probably never look at Wheat Thins in the same away again.