Thursday, May 24, 2007
Here’s hoping the Lord has a good sense of humor
Last Sunday my congregation’s good humor was put to the test, not to mention the Lord’s.
The congregation proved to have a wonderful sense of humor, I can only hope the Lord was also amused.
Let me hasten to say that the mix-up I am about to describe was entirely my fault — one of those “things we have left undone” as the Prayer of Confession says.
It was to be a Communion day. We had a nice congregation gathered for the 11 o’clock service, with a smaller one having assembled at 9 — the fact that a luncheon was to follow the 11 o’clock may have had something to do with the unequal distribution of numbers.
We had celebrated the Sacrament according to our regular custom at 9 a.m., seated about a long table in the ancient Presbyterian manner, like the Lord and the disciples in the Upper Room. So far, so good.
And when it came time to repeat the ceremony at 11, I went through the entire service and invited the congregation forward to gather at the table.
It was not until this moment that I looked down and realized that there was no bread or wine set out on the table! Only then did I realize my error. Chalk another one up to good congregational efficiency!
You see, for the past two or three Sundays Virginia Lesley, who with her husband Bill and daughter Melanie see to the duties of the altar guild, had been away on a trip. So I had set out the bread and wine for the regular 9 o’clock “Kirk Communion,” as we call our early morning celebrations of the Lord’s Supper. It happens every week and everyone is used to the ritual.
We do not always celebrate Communion at 11, but for the past few Sundays it had seemed appropriate to do so, and since I had been in charge of arrangements during Virginia’s absence, I simply left things laid out and so all was ready for the second table.
Last Sunday, Virginia and Bill were back from their trip, and we were all excited, talking over details from their beautiful golden wedding anniversary reception last Saturday.
So excited in fact, that I completely neglected to mention to Virginia that we would be observing Communion at 11 a.m. also.
So like she always does, Virginia lovingly put everything away after the early service. In plain sight of her one-track-minded-minister, I might add! All for naught! None of it fell into place in my little mind until I beheld the fair linen cloth on that 11 a.m. table bare of anything to eat or drink!
The congregation was already coming forward, so we simply joined hands and made a circle, and calling to mind our Savior’s words that where two or three are gathered together, “there I am in the midst of them,” and we offered the communion prayers, which ask simply that God would accept our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving and “fulfill his will in us.”
To me, the morning was more meaningful because of the slight jog in our customs. The fact that a nice luncheon was waiting below may also have soothed our sense of deprivation.
So we did have a kind of communion last Sunday in the Presbyterian Church, though not at God’s altar, but in the fellowship hall below.
I am rather partial to several of our good ladies’ tasty recipes.
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