Thursday, February 11, 2016
You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Lent began yesterday with Ash Wednesday. And there is always something that seems to kick-start this season for me. This year the blessing for me was in not being able to serve communion. Considering how much I love the table of the Lord, it appears that guiding light from above sometimes arrives in unrecognizable packages.
It all started with a sore throat the Sunday before last. It’s not uncommon for me to have a bit of a sore throat after a long Sunday preaching and meeting with folks. But by Tuesday it did what many parishioners secretly hope for during the last half of a particularly long sermon – it shut the preacher’s mouth; I couldn’t speak above a whisper. And if I tried it was like swallowing razor blades.
By this past Sunday morning I had a bit of a voice, but we were having communion and I knew there was no way my germs should touch anyone, let alone the bread or cup.
On the way to church I called our Lay Leader, David, who normally stands with me to serve, and explained. We asked David’s bride, L. Sue, if she would stand with him and serve, while I conducted the liturgy. They did fine and the service went well. L. Sue is one of those people you can always count on; she’s resourceful, helpful, cooperative, and remembers where I hid everything from the previous year!
After the service I thanked her for being willing to stand-in for me. Her reply brought that warmth of the Spirit bearing witness – she said: you know, I had never served communion before, and it really is…humbling. Thank you for asking me.
We spoke for a few moments about “the connection”, as you look into the eyes of another for whom Christ died, and offer, the blood of Christ, shed for you. I experience that with every soul that passes through the line when we serve the Eucharist.
And it is humbling.
To be humbled and stand in awe of Christ’s love as we confess our sins, communing as friend with friend in worship of Almighty God is a precious reminder of the whole nature of self-denial which is called-forth in this Season of Lent.
The One who humbled Himself in taking on human flesh is the King of Glory, and He’s still condescending to be amongst us and break the bread of life so we can live.
It was a good Sunday notwithstanding the razor blades in my throat!
The next time you serve or receive the supper, make sure there is eye contact with the one who stands before you; chances are fairly high the Spirit will bear witness, and something will stir inside you. People have been known to laugh, cry, or even whisper a hushed amen or hallelujah from deep within!
It’s humbling, but in that place you’ll be in good company!