On Sunday, the congregation lined up down the outer aisles of the church to walk forward and receive the bread and the wine. We took communion via “the ancient practice of intinction” as the chapel leaders at seminary would say. A piece of bread, the body of Jesus, dipped into the wine, the blood of Jesus.
I had made my way back to my pew and sat, facing forward, hearing the murmuring whispers of the body of Christ: broken or you, the blood of Christ: shed for you repeated over and over again as the congregants took the bread and wine, body and blood.
The gentleman’s hand shook as he raised it from the walker to take the bread. And when he lowered his hand towards the goblet, it came down with an unintended force, splattering the wine up his hand. His face gave away his frustration, but he placed the wine-soaked bread in his mouth, returned his hand to his walker, and made his way back down the center aisle.
Then a young woman stood from her seat and met him in the aisle. She had a white tissue in her hand as she reached for his, gently wiping away the splattered wine.
And there it is. The body and the blood – that’s what the body and the blood looks like when it’s moving and living. It looks like a towel wrapped around the savior’s waist – kneeling to wash the feet of his disciples. It looks like a tissue in the hand of a young woman, rising to clean the hands of an elder.
Much of my fat theology centers around the idea that all bodies are made in the image of God and that our bodies are not any less important than our soul or our spirit. As I’ve attended this new-to-me church the past few months and watched the way they care for the lives and bodies of the aged and the sick, I have seen beauty. And these aged bodies are not just cared for, they are not just passive participants in the life of the church, no one blinks an eye that the age range of the church is reflected in the age range of those who serve and lead and do the life and ministry of the church. Call it the ignorance of youth – but thinking back on previous church experiences: this is new to me. It is new to me to see the aged and the elderly so frequently in leadership positions.
It’s beautiful, and right, and good.
Any size, any age, any ability: fearfully and wonderfully made and called according to God’s purposes.