Communion in Weakness

My grip is not much to write home about these days. My right arm and hand rest like a lazy cat across my lap, and about half of my left hand is holding out as long as it can. This is frustrating at times, and most disheartening when I try to participate in Communion at church. I love taking Communion. It’s my favorite part of church, for many reasons. But over the past few years, as my hands grow weaker, I’ve lost the ability to get the bread and cup to my mouth. 

It only recently occurred to me, though, I may not be able to serve myself, but… 

One Sunday morning, the plates came by and Katie collected two wafers for us and two little cups of grape juice. I knew not to ask for one of the cups. That could end badly and Katie was wearing a white sweater. Besides, we had a place nearby to set those until we needed them. But as we waited for everyone to collect the elements and take together, Katie held the two wafers, one in each hand, like she did every week, so I got her attention and asked, “Can I hold one of those?” 

She said, “Sure,” and placed one of the wafers between my forefinger and thumb. It hung there like a rock climber swinging from a cliff’s edge. We each held our wafers until everyone had theirs ready and the elder spoke, “Do this in remembrance...” 

Before Katie took her own bite, she looked to see how I would manage. But I wasn’t going for my mouth. I reached, instead, for hers. When she realized what I was doing, she smiled, delighted. I couldn’t get my hand quite high enough, so she leaned forward, closing her eyes, and brought her face to my hand. I placed the wafer on her lips, her husband serving her Communion. And then she did the same for me.