Yesterday at ministrieslab, we were able to partner with the weekly feeding ministry called Crossroads at First Baptist Asheville. We were invited to lead a time of devotion and to extend an invitation to partake in communion. After the devotion, as I was walking to the communion table a man stopped me, “Reverend? Do I call you Reverend?”
“Sure, you can or pastor or Merianna, whichever works for you.”
“It’s just I’ve never met a woman pastor or reverend.”
“I get that a lot,” I said with a smile.
“I’d like to take communion.”
“Great, I’m just heading that way. Would you like to walk with me?”
“No, I mean I’d like to take communion, but I’ve never been allowed to.”
“At ministrieslab, the table is open to anyone who would like to partake.”
“No, what I mean is that the churches I’ve been to have told me I wasn’t good enough to take communion.”
Finally, I stopped and listened to his story. Finally, I heard what he was saying.
In his 63 years of life, he had been an outsider. He had been to many churches and had been raised in church, but more often than not, he found himself in situation after situation where he was not welcomed, but ostracized because of the color of his skin, because of his life’s story, because he was different.
And after I had listened, we walked to the table. He broke off a piece of bread as I said, “This is the body of Christ broken for you,” and then he dipped the broken bread into the cup as I said, “This is the blood of Christ given for you.” He took the bread and a huge smile filled his face.
His first communion at 63.
This is hope. This is healing. This is love.
This is ministrieslab.