Once a year, on the Wednesday night before Easter, we always have Communion at our church. Our Communion set has forty small openings to hold forty small glass cups. For as long as we had pastored here, we had only ever had thirty-nine small cups to fill the forty small openings. One small cup had always been missing. One small opening had always been vacant…until a few years ago.
One year our newly elected neighboring
pastor and friend called and asked if we might have a Communion set that his congregation could borrow. It worked out that we weren’t going to have Communion on the same night, so we were able to oblige him.
As I handed over the shiny set, I apologized for the missing cup. He assured me that it was no problem at all and that he was just thankful to have the set to use. Within the week, our Communion set was returned with much appreciation and we were happy to have been able to help.
I didn’t open the set right away. I just put it in the church kitchen until it was needed. It was a day or two later as I was going to fill the cups with grape juice for our own Communion service that I noticed it. All the openings were full. There were no missing cups. Our friend had filled the vacant hole with a small glass cup of his own.
I don’t know where he got it from. Perhaps he had some from a lost or damaged set and that’s why he needed to borrow ours. Perhaps he went to greater lengths to acquire the missing piece.
I do know how it made me feel, however. When I saw that small cup, I felt like something had been made complete. Not just in the Communion set, but in me. Something was lost, and now it was found. Something was broken, but now it was whole because someone had cared enough to fill a small, vacant space.
Communion is about remembering our Lord Jesus’ sacrifice for us. His sinless blood that was shed for our sins. His body that was broken for us. The ceremony is beautiful and soul-stirring. Often, we forget what Jesus did next.
“He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded…If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.”
(John 13:4-5, 13-14)
As we await that Great Day of Jesus’ return for His Church, we are the Body of Christ in the earth. When Jesus washed his disciples’ feet, it was a reminder for us to humble ourselves and serve one another in love. I wonder when was the last time we poured ourselves out for someone. When was the last time we did something, perhaps seemingly small and insignificant, to fill a small vacancy in someone’s heart.
Once again, we had Communion Service at our church last night. Just like every year at this time, when I opened the Communion set, I was reminded of the kindness of a fellow-laborer.
It was a small thing, really. A small cup. A small gift. A small gesture. A small hole that was now filled.