World Communion Sunday! We were all set, our plans were made and everyone was ready to do their part. The five elders were each bringing a different kind of bread and the choir had been practicing a medley of communion songs. We were doing the Words of Institution responsively, using a format I was given by Pastor Tom Smith at Garden City Christian Church in Indianapolis and all those words would be part of the PowerPoint presentation. Everything was coming together.
I suppose I should have realized that a plan never survives the beginning of worship. My first clue that there might be a glitch or two was when one elder forgot to bring his bread. Then the choir director was caught in bad freeway traffic. I forgot to bring out the projector so the person doing the PowerPoint had to rush putting the equipment together and then we realized I had changed a hymn and forgotten to tell her. Another elder was late and brought her bread to the table during our first hymn.
We spent Children's time looking at the communion table and talking about what this meal means. We looked at the different kinds of bread on the table and I talked about a friend's church where they were sharing 9 kinds of bread from around the world. Our almost 8-year-old candidate for baptism asked if she could help give out the bread today so I asked the congregation what they thought. They all said yes. So when it came time for communion I brought Abigail forward to help.
Standing at the table during the Elder's prayer over the elements I suddenly realized no one had remembered to put out the bread plates. The bread was in a basket, but there were no plates for distribution. Time for a quick announcement: "Today Abigail will come to each one of you carrying the basket full of different breads and our deacons will follow her with the cups."
I don't remember the last time everyone paid such close attention to the service of the elements. The entire congregation watched as Abigail walked from person to person. She stood erect, face glowing as she proudly offered the basket so each one could select the kind of bread they wanted.
Every time there is Sunday like that, when things going "wrong" seem to multiply out of control, at the end of the service there is always blessing. This is one World Communion Sunday we will remember for years to come because of blessing we received from Abigail as she served the feast of love.