How many bites and how many sips?

At the end of last week’s confirmation class, I asked, “Anyone have any questions?” We had just begun our unit on the Ten Commandments and worked our way through the first commandment. We talked a lot about idols and what it means to fear, love and trust God above all things. I expected the question to be related to our discussion. Foolish me.

The last minute question posed to me was, “In Holy Communion, how many bites of bread and how many sips of wine would you need before you consumed an entire Jesus?” To tell you the truth, I’ve never been asked that before. The young man who asked had a very creative mind and I beleve his question was sincere.

I told him, “If by faith you receive all the benefits of forgiveness, life and salvation whenever you eat and drink in Holy Communion, then you get everything Jesus did for us. You get all of him every time, not just a little bit.” He paused a moment, then said, “Oh. OK. Thanks.”

That’s why I like to teach the middle school students. You get those kinds of questions!

A busy Sunday morning

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I may only work one day a week, but that day is a lot busier than most people realize. Here’s what I mean:

About ten minutes before worship begins, I see a man in a wheelchair across the sanctuary trying to get my attention, wiggling his finger in the air, summoning me like a waiter at a restaurant. I make my way over so he can tell me, “Pastor, will you bring communion back to me” “Yes.” (Just like I do each and every Sunday morning. BTW, no tip, either.)

As I walk over to introduce myself to some guests, a woman bundled up in a coat and scarf stops me to comment, “Why is it so cold in here! We’re wasting energy on so much air conditioning!” I confess, I did not do well in the HVAC class at the seminary, but I do notice the woman behind her fanning herself with a worship folder. I promise, “I’ll see what I can do.”

As I head towards the vestry to put on my alb, I pass by someone who suggests that someone ought to update the bulletin boards, especially the empty black one in the entryway. “Well you see,” I explain, “That is actually supposed to depict the inside of the tomb on Holy Saturday. What do you think?”

Dressed and ready to begin worship, a couple asks me, “Can we borrow some chairs from the fellowship hall?” I shrug, “Ok by me.” An usher notifies me that we may not have enough weekly newsletters to give out. “I guess folks will have to share.” As I make my way to the chancel, someone comments, “My birthday didn’t get printed in the weekly newsletter. I guess that means I don’t have to celebrate one this year!”

After worship, a man mentions to me that I can go with the cub scout pack any weekend they are camping. Before, I would have said, “That’s great, but you know, I do work on Sundays.” But now I’m thinking that might not be a bad idea at all.