Sunday Night Communion

Since The Church of Christ takes the Lord’s Supper every Sunday, if somebody is unable to attend the morning service for any reason, during the Sunday evening service they actually pass it to those who missed it that morning. There were usually only a few and so they’d let one of the younger boys take on that responsibility while the rest of the congregation sat in reverent silence. Those who’d missed the morning service would bow their head and raise their hand and the young man would then take them first, the body (matzo crackers) and then the blood (Welch’s grape juice).
One Sunday, Sister Esther Griffith had missed the morning service (a VERY uncommon occurrence. She was, after all, the wife of an Elder) and my little brother Chad (later of Crimson Tide football fame) had been tasked with passing the “make-up” communion.
As Chad walked back toward Sister Griffith, he noticed that she was subtly shaking her head back and forth. We in “the” Lord’s Church were very cautious NOT to take the communion unworthily. The scripture does say he who doeth so, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself. Chad must have thought Sister Griffith had decided in the moment that she was unworthy so he spun on his heels and started walking back toward the front to the finely carved table which had engraved on the front “This do in remembrance of me.” When Chad had made it halfway back to the front of the auditorium (the CoC version of “the sanctuary”) someone whispered loudly, “Chad! Sister Griffith.” So again he walked toward the old lady with the brass platter in his hand only to notice that she was still shaking her head side to side. He shrugged his shoulders, sighed and walked back toward the front. Finally my father said, “Chad, take Sister Griffith the Lord’s Supper!” “Well, she’s shaking her head ‘no’.” my brother pleaded, now completely frustrated by the whole scene. Then my brother did what he and I both did in moments of complete confusion, he looked to my mother for guidance. Since women are not allowed to speak during services, she did the best she could. She silently mouthed her advice. (We’d had lot’s of experience reading Mother’s lips from such admonitions as “clean your nose” or “I know, but tell her it tastes good!”) Chad stood there with the body of the Savior on a plate and stared at our mother, eyebrows pulled up in the center. “She has the PALSY!” my mother mouthed emphatically. She must have accidentally (and unscripturally) whispered a bit because the little boy seated in front of her let out the first part of a laugh before his mother clapped her hand over his mouth. Chad stomped back over to Sister Griffith and thrust the plate toward her with all the force usually associated with a sword fight.
When she’d finished receiving the host, Chad marched back to the communion table, replaced the cross-handled lids to the brass plates and skulked back to the pew where he’d been sitting. He sat down with such aplomb he nearly dislodged a couple of the song books.
Edward Griffith, Sister Esther Griffith’s adult son lead the closing prayer, careful to thank God for the fine young men of the congregation who would be our future leaders.
I don’t remember Chad’s ever offering to serve the Sunday evening communion again.
Who could blame him after all.

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