I officially served communion for the first time this past Sunday - the first Sunday of each month. Since we have five ministers on staff, one of us rotates. I observed the first time out and I’m glad I did. The contemporary service handles communion similar to how I have administered it before, with intinction as the method – similar to the Baptist and charismatic churches I’ve been apart of. But First Methodist’s traditional service is very much a “high” service, including responsive reading and choral singing before administering the Eucharist. Everyone kneels at the altar and two teams serve about 30 people at a time.
Of course, you want your first communion in any church to be memorable…but not really in the way it was for me today. As I was passing the “blood of Christ” in tiny little plastic cups down the altar, something happened. If you have served communion before, you know that those little plastic cups can settle in the holder to the point where they are difficult to get out. One poor soul couldn’t get his cup out of the holder. So, I stopped mid-pronouncement: “This is the blood of Christ shed…try another one.” He said, “Does it matter which one?” I said, “It’s all the blood of Christ, man.” Yes, I actually said that out loud.
And he did - one that was right in the middle of the tray. This one wasn’t coming out either. So he decided to put some muscle into it…and that tiny plastic cup exploded all over the place. Plastic shards flew. It was hilarious, people. It took all my will power not to start laughing and he did the same. Ahhh, the beauty of serious church services…
I saw him a little later as he was picking up his kids. He was mortified and started apologizing. I said, “Yeah, we had to call an ambulance. One of the older people punctured his esophagus when he accidentally drank one of the plastic shards that landed in his cup. It looked pretty bad for a moment, but I think they have him stabilized by now.” All the color drained out of his face, “Really?” “No, man! Everything’s fine – don’t worry about it!” But for some reason, I don’t think my little joke helped very much.
I guess that brings new meaning to “whoever drinks this cup in an inappropriate/unworthy manner…”