The March Madness from Covid 19 has spilled over into the preacher types. There has been an explosion of the old controversy about the Lord’s Supper, the common cup, individual cup, the prophylactic effects of a silver chalice, wiping the chalice, and alcohol based wine. There is a debate about whether or not to even gather at the altar. “Social distancing” don’t you know. We go through these convulsions on a fairly regular basis and we have theological and political and practical issues that are discussed, but I always go back to a nasty wrap on the psychic knuckles I got as a very young Pastor by one of our ancient matriarchs now in glory. Many in my congregations would remember her but for now it is enough to remember her attitude. She was extremely ill and I came to give her communion. Over her head and out of her sight was a note – NPO which I knew meant “nothing by mouth”. I placed the communion set on a chair and offered to pray with her. She wanted communion. I told her I couldn’t give her anything by mouth and the sacrament was for eating and drinking. She said in a weak but commanding voice –“The Lord’s Supper is the body and blood of my savior and he would never give me anything that would harm me or injure me because He died to save me body and soul, so give me communion”! The emphatic faith impressed me and humbled me too.
We are told the Covid -19 virus is really tough on the elderly. I would not want to be a virus that went after that old lady. The combination of her stalwart trust in Christ; belief in the Sacrament as the “medicine of immortality”; and knowledge that all things work together for good to those called according to God’s purpose; was irresistible and of course ultimately victorious.