The Lord’s Supper
The above was the order of services at the church in which I grew up, and, until I was about 17, I thought it was unscriptural to deviate. Prayers were prayed in King James Version, we prayed before the Bread, the Cup, and the offering – only after announcing the offering was “separate and apart from The Lord’s Supper.” We sang songs from Great Songs of the Church – blue cover, shape note edition. It was a capella – as in four-part harmony, no instruments, no piano, just a pitch pipe and our voices.
Yes, I grew up in the Church of Christ. This past Friday, July 1st, my thoughts were once again taken back to the Church of Christ at the corner of 7th & Poplar. You see, July 1st is my Spiritual Birthday.
When I was in the 8th grade, the girls in our Bible class were each paired with an elderly person or couple in our church. We visited them, helped with housework, and tried to be an encouragement. The elderly man and wife I was paired with was a prominent, wealthy, and faithful, couple who were pillars in the church and the community. The joke was The Smiths (not their real name) were so wealthy they had money in Swiss banks, tucked in every nook, and buried on every acre of their backyard. I spent a good deal of time at their house, doing small chores, playing piano for them, and listening to them share stories. At the end of my 8th grade year, Mr. Smith passed away and my family and I went to visitation.
There were wall to wall people offering their condolences to the widow. After what seemed like hours of waiting, my family and I finally arrived at the casket where I hugged Ms. Smith and told her how sorry I was and how I had treasured our time together. Due to the crowd, we didn’t linger, yet as we approached the exit door, my family and I heard several people calling my name. A man rushed to me and said, “Leigh Anne, Ms. Smith says she needs to see you now.” I looked at my parents and noticed their eyes were as large as mine. We made our way back through the crowd and I approached the casket again. It seemed as if time stood still as everyone in line waited as Ms. Smith stopped the flow of visitation to speak to me. She was sitting in a chair and motioned for me to put my ear to her mouth so she could tell me something in complete privacy. I granted her request and listened as she strongly whispered words that I will never forget – words that ultimately changed my life.
WHAT DID SHE SAY?
My family and I walked to the car in silence, although they were bursting at the seams for me to share my news.
“WHAT DID SHE SAY?” they all asked at once.
“Did he include you in his Will?” my brother asked, as dollar signs flashed through his eyes.
It was such an intimate moment between Ms. Smith and me that I really didn’t want to share, but since my brother already had a calculator out and was dividing my inheritance between the five of us, I knew I had to spill.
She said, “Don’t you think it’s time you obeyed the gospel?”
“What?” the four spoke in unison.
“She said, ‘Don’t you think it’s time you obeyed the gospel?’” I repeated.
My parents had a look of complete thankfulness on their face as my brother rolled his eyes and tossed the calculator back to the front seat.
“In the midst of her grief, she was worried about your eternal salvation,” my mother pointed out. “What a Godly woman!”
KEEP IT SIMPLE
The Message puts 2nd Timothy 4:2 this way, “so proclaim the Message with intensity; keep on your watch. Challenge, warn, and urge your people. Don’t ever quit. Just keep it simple.”
When my family asked the question, “What did she say?” the answers could have been endless. She could have told me she loved me, could have asked for a drink of water, requested I keep visiting her, or a host of other things, yet this woman of faith sought me out in her time of grief because she was concerned about my eternity. Even in the midst of her grief she didn’t quit. She urged me and challenged me. And although her words were very carefully chosen, she kept it simple. A few months later – after more prayer and study, I granted the widow’s request, and more importantly the command of my Father, and was baptized into Christ.
WHAT WILL I SAY?
We live in a time where communication is constant. Through emails, phone calls, texts, or social media, we are able to contact anyone, ask any question, or give any information. How will you choose your words? What will you say? What will I say? I pray my words will uplift others and point people in the direction of Christ, who also thought of me in the most difficult time – when He was on the cross.