Serving and Receiving
By Nancy Conklin of Englewood, CO, USA
Explore all the ways the Lord’s Supper can spiritually form the church community into a true and living expression of the life, sacrifice, resurrection, and continuing presence of Christ. Inherent in this sacrament is the divine call for the church to be a sacramental offering for the blessing, healing, and peace of creation. —Doctrine and Covenants 164:4c
Today’s passage reminds me how much the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper means to me. I was baptized and confirmed in Community of Christ as an adult, and I felt the Holy Spirit. I looked forward to my first communion service, a sacrament which was special in our family. My late husband, Ray, had always fasted on Communion Sunday since his baptism at the age of eight.
Ray accepted a call to the office of priest, and his ministry soon became centered in the communion service. Ray arranged the servers and the order of the service. He was always the roving server. I can see him now, going up the center aisle at Greenwood congregation, out the back doors, and up the stairs to serve the organist. He didn’t want to miss anyone.
This service was his joy and epitomized his faithfulness. We enjoyed taking the emblems to the shut-ins on Sunday afternoons, and we saw how much this sacrament meant to those who could no longer come to church.
Our joyful ministry went on 40, 50, 60 years together, until Ray fell ill. The doctors diagnosed him with leukemia and expected him to live less than six months. We found ourselves in the hospice on Communion Sunday in June 2008. Our pastor Bill and his wife Alice brought communion to us, and we had a beautiful service.
Bill offered the cup of life to Ray. By God’s grace, he took it in both hands, lifted it to his mouth, and drank without help. Then he took the bread of life. My husband and I took communion together for the last time.
I want to express what that communion service meant to us in our weakness and extreme need. We felt the comfort, peace, and assurance those sacred emblems gave us, with the love and compassion of the priesthood representing Christ there with us. I can only say that it meant everything to Ray, who knew he was near death. The food for the journey was spiritual and assured him of Christ’s presence for his remaining three days. The memory of that communion will always be a treasure of my heart.
Prayer for Peace
Personal God, Community God, thank you for the beautiful sacrament that brings us together. May we pass peace to one another.
Spiritual Practice: Develop Disciples to Serve
As disciples of Jesus Christ, our call is to respond to people and their needs. Pray about using your skills to help the mission of the community. As you feel affirmed, thank God for the opportunity to be a responding, serving disciple while you move outward on the journey.
Today, God, I will serve as I have been served. I will love as you have loved me.