Thursday, March 28, 2013

From My Journal in 1979

At almost eighteen, in my senior year, I took a trip to my sister's in California at Easter time. This is my entry from my journal of a church service that touches my heart, still.
April 12, 1979
I have to interrupt my first story to share the most beautiful experience that happened to me tonight. Today is Thursday, but not any Thursday. It is the Thursday in holy week just before Good Friday and Easter. On this night many years ago, Jesus ate His last supper while He was living. on earth. He was celebrating the Jewish holiday of the old covenant. In this act, He began the new covenant. He broke the bread, as His body would be broken and gave the wine as His blood would be shed. Ever since this occasion, Christians have remembered the suffering of Christ in this communion.
Tonight was a celebration of communion.
I entered the Ridgecrest Covenant United Presbyterian Church, a fairly modern building. Greeting me were very informal ushers. I chatted awhile with them and then made my presence in the sanctuary. A young girl sat on the floor in a black turtle neck shirt and ragged jeans. No shoes were on her feet. Her sun bleached hair barely touched her shoulders. She was intently strumming a guitar. Only a few people had gathered and I sat in the second and last row.
I said a prayer of thanks to be in the Lord's house. As I finished my thanksgiving, I looked to the altar. Two loaves of homemade bread waited to be broken. Three pitchers, very sleek, of grape juice also were ready for the silver cup. Palms adorned the pulpit from the past Sunday. A peace filled my heart and I was prepared for the service.
While I was like the supplements on the altar, a crippled woman hobbled in. I asked her to sit by me and she did.
The pastor entered in his flowing black robe and the purple scarf of Lent. He was a tall man and middle age; a calm smile of assurance spread on his face.
He preached on the last days of Jesus' life, the holy week up till Thursday. He told of His teachings and His services to the people He loved. How Jesus is the vine and we are the branches. Jesus could be the servant to His disciples by washing their feet, are we greater than Jesus? We are to serve and minister.
The first song was the old Christian favorite, Amazing Grace. The truest song of any conversion. After the pastor told of the hypocrisy of the Pharisees, we sang Father, Good and Kind, a most befitting hymn. As we prepared for the actual communion, we joined together in As I Survey the Cross, a song I love dearly. 
The pastor invited us to the communion table, encouraging us to be ruling elders tonight. (in the Presbyterian church, the elected or ruling elders serve communion to the congregation) Our crowd was small prompting intimacy as we could serve each other.
As an acting elder, I served the bread and wine to the crippled lady. People served me, too, and it was so beautiful and close.
The loaves were actually broken and we drank hearty shares of grape juice. I imagine it was much like the Last Supper. The Christian fellowship was there and love poured from my heart. 
As Christians, we need the fellowship of other Christians and we need to be reminded of the actual broken body and shed blood of our Lord and Savior. We need simplicity and a constant communion with our God. One to one, yet sharing. We must not forget the Way, the Truth and the Life. We are part of Jesus and He lives through us in ministering to the world.

Engage in today in communion with your God. Remember the roots and the sacrifice of Jesus.
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