Sunday, October 9, 2011

Crumbs Under My Table

All were invited to come to communion near the conclusion of our church's worship today. Rather than kneeling, we formed a line to be served continuously with worshipers making their way forward to servers - one tearing off and handing out pieces of bread and another handing out small cups of wine or juice.

Always a gentleman, Mark stepped from the pew and into the aisle wide enough for me to assume a position in the line that was directly in front of him.

I was served my portion of bread with the words "The body of Christ, given for you," but missed receiving it fully into my hands. Instead, my bite-sized bread of life wafted through my index and middle fingers. Looking at it on the carpeted floor, I contemplated bending down to pick it up, or simply asking for a new piece. I mean, the body of Christ was freely given. Why not get a fresh portion?

"Sorry. May I have another?"

I cannot remember who picked up my fallen piece - me or someone else. I can only remember the activity of it being retrieved, the movement of the woman serving bread as she pulled off a new portion, and the smiling face of the wine server now patiently waiting.

As I took my cup - "The blood of Christ shed for you" - I heard Mark behind me.

"That's ok. I'll just take this one."

I turned just enough to see him bypass the fresh piece of bread being offered to him in exchange for my discarded portion, now lying on the palm of the server's hand in a position as far as possible from the main part of the loaf.

"If I don't take it, it will just be in your way as you serve others," he said.

Nothing like a concrete reminder of what humility looks like while coming to commune.

The metaphors present in Mark's sensible supplication are numerous. I find no need to enumerate them here. I simply wish to share what I encountered when I came to the table today and was reminded, once again, of my humanity - and of my husband's.

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