James W. Moore of St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Houston tells a story about one of his minister friends. His name is Tom and he does a fascinating thing each month. Even though he has an extremely busy schedule he still makes the time each month to go down to the homeless shelter in his city to work in their soup kitchen.
After the homeless people have been fed, he then invites them to join him in a service of Holy Communion and many of them will come with him to the little chapel in the homeless shelter. and join in the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. They have shared soup together in the soup kitchen and then they come to share the bread and the cup together at the altar in the chapel.
One day, Tom had an unforgettable experience in the communion service. As he was moving down the altar serving communion, he came to a man kneeling there who looked like he had been out on the streets for quite some time.
The man looked up at Tom and whispered: "Skip me." "What? Pardon me?" Tom said. In a louder whisper, the man said again, "Skip me." "Why?" Tom asked. "Because," the man said, "I’m not worthy." Tom said: "Neither am I." Then Tom added: "I’ll tell you what. I’m going to serve communion to these other people. Then, I’m going to come back and serve communion to you and then I would like you to serve it to me." The man blinked and said to Tom: "Father, is that legal?" "Yes, it’s legal; it’s beautiful and that’s
what we are going to do!" Tom answered.
Tom went on down the altar and served all the other people kneeling there. Then he came back to the reluctant man and said: "What’s your name?" And the man said, "Josh." Tom placed the elements of the Lord’s Supper before him and said:
"Josh, here is the Body of Christ and here is the Blood of Christ given for you. Eat this and drink this in the remembrance that Christ came for you and Christ died for you. Amen."
Josh blinked back the tears in his eyes. and he received Holy Communion. Then, Tom knelt and handed Josh the trays of bread and wine and said: "Now, you serve me."
Josh nervously took the trays and again he said: "Father,
are you sure this is legal?" "Yes, it’s legal. Just do it."
Josh’s eyes were darting from side to side as he looked over this shoulder and then the other. as if he expected (at any moment) the police, the FBI, the CIA or the Pope to come rushing in to arrest him.
Finally, he held the trays toward Tom and as Tom received the Sacrament Josh muttered: "Body - Blood - for you, Hang in There!"
Tom said later: "Of all the communion rituals I have ever heard, I don’t recall the words ’Hang in There’ in any of them. but at that moment for me, Holy Communion had never been more ’Holy.’
This cup and this bread is for EVERYONE who believes.
SOURCE: James W. Moore of St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Houston.
Related Text Illustrations
Contributed by Melvin Newland on Dec 20, 2000
Finishing the race is critically important to all of us who would be followers of Jesus. And Hebrews 12:1-3 contains at least 3 pieces of advice that will help each of us faithfully run the race that is before us. (Powerpoint Available - #185)