I recently began volunteering as a communion server at church, for no more magnanimous reason than that I am always late, which makes it tough to be a greeter.
What I didn’t know at the time was that God could take something as odd as my lack of punctuality and use it to answer a recent prayer. The first moments in my new role I was a bit overwhelmed by the repetition:
Blood of Christ, shed for you. Blood of Christ, shed for you.
And you. And you. And you.
Slowly, out of that repetition emerged something new, as my focus shifted from the words I was speaking to whom I was speaking them, taking in the diversity of their responses to this 2,000 year-old promise. Tentative. Happy. Confident. Sad. Grateful. Each face a story.
As I spoke this simple phrase and looked into the eyes of each person who passed before me, the words took on significance, importance and even urgency. Jesus, the son of God, shed his blood for you.
For you, tiny child too young to understand.
For you, millennial rockin’ tattoos and body piercings.
For you, pregnant mom embodying the gift of new life.
For you, homeless man who straggled in to sit alone.
And for me. Jesus shed his precious blood, the very source of life, because of his love of me.
In this simple act of service, God showed me what it means when we speak of the power of Christ’s blood. Now when I have the privilege of speaking this blessing to people I see them with new eyes. Jesus’ eyes. Beloved children. Lost sheep. Eager. Questioning. Faithful.
Each one worthy of his gift of love and grace. A blood sacrifice. Not because of who they are. But because of who the Giver himself is.
This Sunday as you step into the communion line may you be newly aware of the immense wonder and beauty wrapped up is this ritual that sits at the very center of our faith.
Notice how it amplifies our diversity even as it unites us more deeply through our shared need for a Savior.
But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.