I was honored to serve my congregation as an acolyte on Easter Sunday morning. It was wonderful–and one of the most wonderful parts of it was during communion. The adult acolyte is to hover with the flagon of wine as the people receive the sacrament, ready to refill chalices if the ministers need more, so I stood between the altar and the communion rail, holding the heavy silver vessel and watching the proceedings from the best spot in the house.
The choir sang, the people streamed toward the rail, the ministers bent and gave morsels of bread and sips of wine. And as communion proceeded, I watched the communicants as they knelt or stood and waited with outstretched hands–young or old or middle-aged, pierced and inked or suited and minked, black or white or brown, lifelong parishioners or first-time visitors, dressed to the nines or bedraggled from the streets, alone or with friends or with generations of family, rich or poor or in between–all neighbors, all beloved children of God.
The most memorable communicant was a little girl about 4 or 5, standing at the rail next to her kneeling father. Both were dressed in their Easter finery, with perky ribbons in the child’s hair. It was clear that these two, daddy and daughter, were the light of each other’s lives, and when she eagerly reached out to receive Christ into her little hands, I could see that he was close to happy tears of loving pride and joy in the precious girl he had brought to meet Jesus.
I don’t think I’d seen them before, but I know I’ll never forget them. Do I reach out for Christ as eagerly as that little girl did? Am I as proud and joyful as her father was when I help bring someone closer to Jesus?
This Easter season is a perfect time for us all to reflect on our response to Christ’s presence in our lives, in our hearts, in our households, in our communities–and then to act boldly and lovingly. What will our actions look like? Read Acts 2:42-47 for one suggestion.
Audrey Novak Riley is director for stewardship and development for Women of the ELCA.
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