Several years ago I was a small group Bible study leader for our young adult group. My church had a certain protocol for its small group leaders. First, you would be an apprentice leader. Second, you would attend a couple of leadership training sessions, in which you learned the basics of leading a small group.
The training encouraged its small group leaders to think outside the box. They acknowledged that it was good to have a regular structure and format but also encouraged us that mixing it up could be beneficial. One such activity they suggested was taking communion as a group. This was an intriguing idea to me, as I'd never experienced the sacrament outside of a church setting.
I am the type of person that is more comfortable helping others succeed in leadership roles. I know that I'm a good leader. I just happen to think I'm an even better follower. Even so, I was flattered when I was asked to be an apprentice leader. That said, I was also nervous about taking on the role.
I shouldn't have been nervous. The girls in my group were fantastic! A few I knew before but there were a lot of new additions to the young adult group. We fell into a regular rhythm of discussing our study and challenging one another.
For group one fall night, I gathered everyone around and explained that we would be taking communion together. I had us all go off into separate spaces in the apartment to spend time with God and prepare our hearts. I didn't know what would become of this experiment but I thought it was worth trying.
Instead of bread or those horrible dry crackers, I bought Cinnamon Teddy Grahams. I hate grape juice but not everyone drank wine so I chose a lovely CranApple juice. I figured the spirit mattered more than what we drank and ate.
After a time, I called everyone back. I read Scripture: This is My body. This is My blood. Do this in remembrance of Me.
The mood was solemn. I felt moved and humbled to have such an experience with these women.
As I finished reading the passage from Luke 22, my mind went blank. What on earth came next? I unsuccessfully tried to remember how our pastor would transition from scripture to inviting the congregation to take part.
There we sat with our juice and Teddy Grahams, everyone looking for me to move us forward.
I did the only thing this then 20-something could think of.
I raised my Dixie cup of CranApple juice high and proclaimed:
(Bonus points if you are like my friend Jill and this story reminded you of Demetri Martin Toasting Traffic. You are super cool! If it didn't, you should acquaint yourself with Demetri's work right now.)
(Bonus points to my small group for not holding my lack of communion-leading finesse against me. We toasted Jesus and moved on with the night. And, for whatever reason, they continued to come back week after week.)