We were as silent as mice as we hid behind the trees on the west side of the church parking lot. The early dark of the evening aided us in hiding. We four boys were on a mission of discovery. Any minute we knew we would see them. One of our number had seen them go over. It was only a matter of time before they came back. They never stayed all that long, and they always came back.
Moments later we heard the sound of a screen door opening and then the muffled sound of the men’s voices. “Wait! Don’t forget this.” Was that a woman’s voice we heard? Walking slowly, the men made their way across the backyard of the house before disappearing behind the church. Thanks to an early and full moon, we did catch just a glimpse of the silver.
The house we watched was the pastor’s home, which was “conveniently” located right next to the church. (People who think that is convenient have never been a pastor who lived next door to the church.) The men who moved furtively through the dark were two of the church’s deacons and the pastor. The woman’s voice was that of Mrs. Johnson, our pastor’s wife. Apparently, she was the only woman allowed near the secret.
Until that night, we had thought that the “elements” of the Lord’s Supper just showed up on the table in front of the pulpit, covered by a white tablecloth. That night the secret was partially uncovered. The “elements” came from the parsonage; and in spite of women not being able to serve the elements, it appeared to us that Mrs. Johnson had been allowed to help prepare them. Interesting, isn’t it? Women could bake the bread, pour the juice, press the tablecloth, and, I suspect, wash up afterwards, but they could not serve the congregation.
This morning at our church a man and woman will be preparing the bread and the juice, and men and women will serve. There will be little secrecy around the Table, though there will be much mystery. All who are present will be invited to eat and drink. Some of those will experience the mystery of bread and juice becoming more . . . so much more. Some who are not yet believers will eat and drink with us; and in doing so, they will hear and see lessons of God’s love and of Jesus’ promise that he is the Bread of Life. Some who hear and see the lesson will believe, and the next time they eat and drink they may well experience the mystery.
The Table is the Lord’s. I pray somewhere you are finding one of His Tables that is open to you.