This morning, I led a communion service at a local senior center and a series of things led to it being a bit “unusual.” For the elements of communion, It ended up that I found a bottle of (not expired or past date) Cranberry Grape juice served in Kroger small plastic cups and sandwich bread from the dining room. I didn’t have an “official” chalice or plate for serving and it just felt a bit rough. But you know what, that’s ok.
In ministry, one of the calls we have is to make do with what we have. That goes for things like communion elements to buildings to money to people. We make do with what is provided. Just Jesus took a few loaves and dried fish and fed thousands, we take what we have and offer it up and God uses it for something far bigger.
Over the last 18 months, I have seen this at work in so many churches and in so many of my colleagues. Churches that had to slap together online services when the pandemic began, using iPhones propped up on a pile of hymnals or looking awkwardly into a webcam for a zoom meeting. But the Gospel was still being shared and proclaimed even if it wasn’t the most “polished” or “professional.” Some of those services felt like communion this morning – a bit rough around the edges.
But here’s the thing…Jesus works in the rough edges. Jesus takes bottles of cranberry grape juice poured ¼” deep into small plastic cups and it becomes the cup of salvation. Jesus takes white sandwich bread wrapped up in plastic wrap in the kitchen and it becomes the body of Christ. Jesus takes buildings that aren’t the most up-to-date and they become places of community, helping, hope, and connection. Jesus takes people who don’t feel they are gifted or skilled for the tasks before them and uses them to be witnesses of God’s transforming power at work.
I love the message in 2 Corinthians 4:7 that speaks to this – “But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us.”
We are imperfect vessels using imperfect resources doing an imperfect tasks – all of them clay jars…And yet God works through these vessels.