Andrew leaned toward Nancy and me and whispered to us: “We usually sit down and wait for the line to go through a bit.” We sat down.
The congregation lined up at the tables near the center of the room, around the platform. In ones and twos, people dipped wafers into the grape juice. With several hundred people in the room, the lines were long.
Eventually, Andrew shifted, and the four of us stood up. We got in line. Andrew and Allie were in front of us. They dipped their wafers into the juice, held their hands under the wafer, and returned to their seats. So did we.
When we got to our seats, Andrew whispered, “Go ahead and eat. You can eat it up there, but we usually sit down first.” Shoulder to shoulder, Nancy and I ate and remembered body and blood shed for us.
Twenty-some years ago, Nancy and I were the ones giving instructions about Communion, first to son Andrew, then to daughter Hope. We explained the meaning and the process. Decades later, we’re in Allie and Andrew’s church, in their community, We’re the ones receiving the whispered directions for this community, and for their personal practice within this community.
This teaching back and forth has happened for hundreds of generations, billions of people, It’s how the body of Christ remembers and embodies the Body of Christ. “Do this in remembering me,” Jesus told the disciples. As we have patience with each other, as we teach each other, as we guide each other, we are remembering and demonstrating and expressing the love that Jesus showed with his complete self-sacrifice. And as one generation makes room for the next, listening to and deferring to quiet leadership, we are each offering and receiving the love of Christ.