Faith enough for the both of us

Yesterday I held the hand of a dying man. I spoke words of peace and offered him his last communion. He had faith enough for the both of us.

This once gregarious soul could barely communicate, but as I placed the bread on his tongue and poured some little bit of juice past his lips. I was reminded of a story he told me.  He grew up in a Jewish family in New York City almost a century ago. As a teenager he fell in love with a girl and found faith in Jesus, both of which were instrumental in his conversion to Christianity. Eventually, he felt called into ordained ministry and he served for decades as a pastor in the Nazarene tradition.

Once, early in his ministry, he was at home and heard a knocking at his apartment door. It was a Catholic neighbor who was frantic for some reason to receive communion. The person begged for the sacrament and when he looked around his apartment he found bread, but no juice of any kind. Instead of turning back to the woman with excuses about how he wasn’t a priest or how he didn’t have what he needed, in an inspired moment he took some packets of grape jelly and put them in a cup with water, stirred them around until they were juice-like, and without flinching, administered the sacrament.

Ed lived generously, courageously and creatively. Regardless of faith or creed, I think we can all agree we could use more people like that.

So, here’s the word for today. You can make excuses or you can make the world a better place. Sometimes you have to work with what you’ve got and, without flinching, make something more out of it.




8 Comments Add yours

  1. curt seeliger says:

    Good on you, lad. My excuses are almost exclusively over smaller matters than this.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dan says:

    In the case of a Catholic asking for communion, the right thing to do is to say you are not a priest. That’s because Catholics believe that only a priest can confer the sacrament. If they mistakenly think you are priest, then they will not be receiving what they were expecting and the fault is on you. If they know you are not a priest then the fault is on them (if they insist on receiving).


    1. We’re going to have to agree to disagree there. I understand the doctrinal argument you’re making, but I think she got exactly what she needed.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. meanmna says:

        I would agree Jim. Luke 22:19 – “…do this in remembrance of me.” There is not addition of “only if you are with a priest (or rabbi in his time).” We as humans too often let dogma/doctrine get in the way. Isn’t that one of the reasons Chris came to essentially tell us we didn’t understand the first time He told us?


  3. Dan says:

    You wouldn’t label Sapele as Honduran Mahogany, right? It’s not for us to decide what she needs. We need to tell it like it is.


    1. Thanks for setting us straight.

      Liked by 3 people

  4. hiscarpentry says:

    We all chose to worship with our own humanistic proclivities. Yet there is one true God who together with the Son and Holy Spirit loves us and bestows upon us grace beyond understanding.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s