Glug, glug, glug. The occupants of the surrounding pews cringed as Howard pulled the communal communion cup to his lips and began to chug. Not a sip or even a large swallow, but a throw-your-head-back chug, the kind that ends with a satisfied sigh and smile.
Everyone knows the drill. We receive communion in our church by intinction. Everyone dips a piece of bread into the juice. Howard had received communion in this way dozens of times. But, like many, Howard is living with the effects of dementia, causing him to forget simple tasks, even sacred practices, that once seemed like second nature.
His daughter sighed, and reached forward to stop the guzzling, but Pastor Tommy, my husband and co-pastor, stopped her instead. "Let him drink. There is more than enough."
It was one of those moments, those unexpected holy moments, when heaven and earth kiss ever so lightly. While the rest of us tore off tiny slivers of bread, lightly grazing the juice in the chalice, Howard had a thirst that needed to be quenched. With no thought to propriety or decorum, he reached out for what he needed and received.
Oh to approach the Lord's Table with such thirst! To sense our deep need, to acknowledge our profound thirst that can only be quenched with the Cup.
Oh to have the courage to reach out our hands for what has been so freely offered, Grace overflowing.
Pastor Tommy was right. There is more than enough. More than enough grace for the journey. More than enough grace to sustain us through the hurts, the rejection, the diagnosis, the sorrows, the loss. More than enough grace to empower us to live in joy-filled, radical obedience.
As Pastor Tommy walked back to the pulpit and shared the beauty of Howard's simple gesture with the congregation, I looked out over the heads of the listeners and saw Howard, sitting tall and grinning, no, beaming. I don't know if he understand the beauty and challenge to us inherent his actions or if he was just smiling because he finally got the drink he'd been craving all service long. What I do know is that a body of Jesus followers in Mountain Home, ID were reminded that there is more than enough grace for all at the table of our Lord.
Marvelous infinite matchless grace Freely bestowed on all who believe You that are longing to see His face Will you this moment His grace receive