A miracle happened while Pastor David was pouring the grape juice. Standing in front of him on the pulpit, to his right, I told myself to concentrate on the moment. Focus on his face. Focus on his words. Focus on the flowing of the juice.
Today, at nearly 77, I served communion as an elder for the first time. For one reason or another, mostly denominational differences, I’ve not been an elder before. I’ve long been an advocate for “women in office,” but wasn’t necessarily interested for myself. That is until Pastor David came over after my husband passed away; I thought he’d come for an “after it’s all over” call, and that was part of it, but he also offered me a few opportunities for service in the church.
My first thought was no, no, no! I’ve taught enough classes in my life, and I’ve served on way too many committees. But, I told him I’d think about it.
That whole weekend, I agonized over his requests. Why now? I’m just widowed, I have a few zillion things on my plate, I don’t need one more thing to do.
But then I saw the irony of my thoughts. Here I’d been blogging about God’s grace during Marv’s illness, how so many good things had happened, way more than could have occurred by chance or serendipity or fate. We both knew our adventure, as I called it, of his illness and dying were overseen by God’s grace. We’d known our lives were in God’s hands.
As I got a little humbled by that thought, I put Pastor David’s visit into that perspective. Was it just by chance that he’d come over with opportunities to serve? Probably not. There must have been some grace involved. I felt it was no more than decent to give them serious consideration. So the following week, I met with him for an hour and a half and told him all the reasons I didn’t think I should serve, concluding with if I was going to do anything, I’d consider becoming an elder.
Which brings me to the miracle of this morning. After we’d served the bread and were standing again on the pulpit waiting to bring the juice to those in the pews, I made that vow to concentrate on the moment. To concentrate on the honor and privilege, at long last as a woman, to serve communion. To concentrate on the weighty honor and privilege of serving others the symbols of Christ’s broken body and shed blood for our salvation.
As I focused my consciousness on the pastor’s face, on his words, and on the flowing of the juice, I became aware of a clear vision of Marv hovering high over the pastor’s right shoulder. Marv was watching me, seriously, as if to tell me he was able to see me, and he was happy that I’d been given the opportunity to have my long-term advocacy for ”women in office” come to fruition for me.
My eyes immediately moistened; my lungs stiffened. If I’d not seen my dad once in a visionary way, I’d not have believed it possible. I blinked, tried to swallow, and forced a breath; Marv was still there. He was wearing one of his favorite multi-textured sweaters. It wasn’t my favorite; I wondered if I could change it. In my mind, I took my favorite sweater of his and, much like I used to dress paper dolls, tried to replace his sweater, but his only loosened a bit from the vision before springing back into place.
Then it was time for me to take a tray, filled with miniature communion glasses, from the pastor, make my way carefully down the few steps off the pulpit, and walk to my assigned place to begin serving. Just that fast, the vision disappeared. I walked up the aisle suppressing tears of joy.