Worn out from an out-of-town speaking engagement, I considered staying home from church on Sunday, May 4. This has not been a good year for me health-wise. I developed bronchitis on Christmas Day 2007, and since then I'd had four rounds of antibiotic in four months. I felt guilty, though, because I had already missed so many Sundays. So I dragged myself to church--literally dragged. I was stiff and hurting all over.
The music was lively, and some part of me joined in halfheartedly, but it didn't quite penetrate my brain fog of chronic fatigue. I fidgeted in my seat, moving my legs to keep my knees and hips from locking up.
When it was time to celebrate Communion, the musicians shifted to a slower tempo and the elders passed through the congregation, serving the sacred emblems of bread and wine. I reached toward the silver plate extended in my direction and caught the eyes of Randy Schmidt. "It's an honor to serve you," he said quietly, a grin crinkling the corners of his blue eyes.
Something inside me broke at his words. My fatigue did not miraculously lift. My pain dissipated not one whit. But in that instant when he said, "It's an honor to serve you," I experienced a moment of eternity. A moment when my spirit was lifted out of the here and now and brushed against unseen realms. This was why I had come to church. Not for the music. Not for the preaching. For this moment of communion--not just with my savior but with a dear friend and brother and an entire body of believers.
"It's an honor to serve you." Randy has served me and my family in so many ways for so many years. This man has taken time out of his busy work day to come fix my mom's dishwasher so she didn't have to pay for a service call for a small repair. He ruined a chain saw blade cutting up a tree felled by lightning in our back yard. Just the week before he'd been up in our attic at 11:00 p.m., trying to find where the roof was leaking in our new house.
Communion. Community. Eloquently expressed in six short words.