Home communion - "When you do this, remember me."
Remembering is an important activity. Jesus instructed the disciples during that last Passover to “remember Him” whenever they observed this meal. Today, we call this remembrance Holy Communion. Communion can be defined as “Intimate communication or the act of sharing or holding in common.” We are blessed at FPC to partake of this sacrament often; and it is a natural expression of His love to “remember” congregants who are unable to physically join us at the table.
“... it is a natural expression of His love to ‘remember’ congregants who are unable to physically join us at the table.”
– Mariesa Worman
Delivering communion to the homebound or hospitalized is something our congregation has done for many years, and those who participate have stories to tell of God’s love as it unfolds in unique moments. Judith Land, for example, can speak of a recent opportunity she experienced. As an active deacon, her husband, Joe, was assigned to serve Jan Keene at Inverness Village and Judith was able to go along. “I have served with Jan in Chancel Choir and several ‘Vacations with a Purpose.’ We’ve also been in a K Group together,” Judith explained. While at Inverness, they bumped into additional Church members, were updated on their lives and learned of another member’s passing just the day before. “When serving home communion,” said Judith, “I look forward to seeing people I may not see often, praying with and for them, and including them in the beauty of remembering the last meal that Jesus had with His disciples before giving His life for our salvation.”
As acting clerk of session, Gary Mathews describes it this way, “Being ordained as an elder means serving the congregation as a spiritual leader. One of the best gifts I received was the assignment to deliver home communion to members. While it began as a duty assigned to all elders, the privilege to extend communion elements from the Sanctuary to those in the farthest pew became a spiritual reward because it is Jesus who is actually doing the serving. Whether the individual is alone or with family members, sharing details of the worship service with them, reading scripture, praying, and listening to concerns and life events of the homebound member is extremely rewarding.”
My personal stories of this ministry are similar. Gary Mathews and I usually serve home communion together, but on one Sunday, he had to be out of town. Before exiting my car and going in to serve, I prayed that the Holy Spirit would do His work, regardless of my recipient’s condition.
Though not asleep, I found her in her bed staring blankly at her hands as she picked at her nail polish. It was overwhelmingly sad as Gary and I had continued to watch a disease steal her mind.
She didn’t acknowledge my presence, my conversation or my touch. I leaned in closer and prayed audibly, asking that she would sense God’s love and that the Holy Spirit would communicate to her in a supernatural way. Still no response.
Wondering whether she would take the elements, I recalled Gary saying that we can simply touch them to their lips if they seem unable to partake. I took a piece of bread from the bag and spoke her name: “This is the body of Christ broken for you.” I touched the bread to her lips, and she opened her mouth and ate it! Then, she looked into my eyes. Thrilled, I took the cup, said the words and helped raise her head. She only drank half, but I’m certain she knew what it was. Prayer answered, praise the Lord!
Desiring to communicate with her more, I placed my hand on her head and was prompted to sing “Jesus Loves Me.” She immediately joined in and I was ecstatic. To see and hear someone who can no longer find their words sing audibly, “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so,” is a gift like no other!
There are many such stories among God’s people. We thank Him for these opportunities, and we remember.