I spent some time yesterday taking Communion to elderly people in the township. We randomly allocate areas to myself and my supervising minister and I don't remember doing this particular area before. It was a very much poorer area than most I've been to. For some reason our system of letting people know that we were coming didn't seem to work and we were getting many old people out of bed. In one of the last houses the granny was asleep with someone else beside her. The granny came through, but the other person seemed to stay asleep. As we got going this other person woke up and it turned out to be a girl in her twenties who was quite badly disabled - I would guess cerebral palsy. She eventually came through to us walking on her knees and making talking noises. The noises she made were quite frightening, but she seemed to be very good-natured. When we gave out the elements of Communion I gave her a wafer. She was elated, but eating the thing was quite a performance. She didn't notice when I didn't give her a little glass of communion grapejuice. In the midst of all this chaos and noise the steward with me said quietly to me, 'Jesus understands'.
I was so pleased - it was something that I said to him on the first day that we did communions together. There is usually a lot of ceremony and the people wait for the minister wearing their church uniforms. But I said if the people were bed-ridden they could take communion in their beds. If the people were too fast asleep or too sick, I said that Jesus would understand if we just prayed for them and didn't give them communion. I was so chuffed that this simple guy who doesn't manage much English had owned the concept. And reminded me of it!