It was a small group of people that night who took communion together before their evening study. The minister read from Luke 22:24-30 and expanded upon how Jesus came to serve, even to the point of emptying himself and dying on the cross. He emphasized verse 27: “For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.”
Then he took off the lids from the communion trays and proceeded to serve his flock, walking between the tables, holding the trays for each person. Usually, one of the other men volunteered to help pass trays. On that day, no one came forward to help even though the minister struggled to get the trays passed.
The classroom was divided into three rows. Two women, myself and another woman, sat on a pew along the back wall. Since there wasn’t enough room to walk between the second and third tables, the minister stood at one end and passed first the tray of bread, then the tray of juice, allowing the believers to serve themselves then pass to the next person.
As the first tray reached the end of the line, the woman beside me stood up, took the plate of bread, held it while she and I took the bread together, handed the tray to the minister, then repeated the action with the tray of juice.
Now, I come from a background where only the men serve Communion. I don’t intend for this to be a discussion of whether women should serve Communion. Frankly, I doubt that theological controversy was even on the mind of my friend. In fact, that’s what makes this story so special.
This woman saw a need and rose to meet it, simple as that. She was willing to step beyond the confines of gender roles and follow Christ’s commandment and example to serve. She portrayed her own humility by sharing the moment with me. She was listening to the Scripture about service.
We have a saying in our house. Grace is messy. Grace makes you think. Grace transcends the rules and follows the higher law of love. Grace relaxes about the should’s and ought’s and challenges us to do what needs to be done, even if it means stepping out of the box labeled normal. Grace is about attitude – lowering yourself to serve even though you ought to be able to sit at the table and be served.