Sunday morning, I was ready to leave with the choir who was singing at a church in another county when I remembered that I had left a bag in the gym (where we hold worship) that contained elements for a “Bread and Cup Service.”  I spoke with our elder who would be conducting the service that day.  She was happy to be able to do a Bread and Cup Service with our members because the lesson from the Lifeway curriculum–that we use–was teaching about the Last Supper.

Because of the diversity of denominations that we represent, we do not observe communion.  However, during camp and when appropriate, we mimic the Salvation Army’s “Bread and Cup Service.”  Because our members are visual and tactical learners, we often use practical applications to teach the weekly lesson.  In preparing this lesson, I could think of no better illustration than to have a time where our members obeyed Jesus when He said, “Do this to remember me.”

We don’t often think about the importance of this time as a memory boaster.  Those of us whose cognitive abilities are swift and large, argue about the true significance and the power of the elements.  Our members were eager to simply “remember” in a concrete, tangible way.  I had explained to them that in the days of Jesus, there were no cell-phone cameras or videos.  However, God again and again told His people:  “Remember.”

Yet, each time we are told by God to remember, He gives us a practical, active illustration that mimics the actual events.  Baptism, Passover, Feast of Booths, communion all teach with activity.  Most of the time, God incorporates a time of feasting to make the observance of this godly event more enjoyable.

The blessings of the Lord and the remembrances are often mingled with sad events.  However, the Lord wants us to relish His provision and His blessings and He give us an active symbol to help us to remember.

Camp Agape is a four day retreat that allows all of us to get into the skin of our members and for our members to get to know us and each other.  On Sunday evening at Camp Agape, we have a bread and cup service.

Each year, the members of several programs of Special Gathering gather for a spiritual retreat in Vero Beach at Life for Youth Camp during a four-day weekend.  Each year there are 200 to 220 people who attend coming from seven of our programs.  People come from as far south as Port St. Lucie, Florida and as far north as Jacksonville.

A ministry within the mentally challenged community, Special Gathering exists to do classic ministry, discipleship and evangelism.  This is our purpose and mission.  During Camp Agape, we eat our meals together.  We sleep in the same cabins.  We play games, do crafts and slide down the water slides.  Twice a day we have chapel services.  The highlight of the weekend is the bread and cup service.  Here, we remember the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus.  We also want to embrace the time of fellowship that this meal represents.

We serve the bread wafers and the small cups of grape juice in two lines. Each person was given the invitation, “If you are a friend of Jesus, come.”  During the mingling in the aisles as people wait for their turns, there is a stirring of the love the Lord has shown for us by the fact that he would come to die for the bad things we do.

When The Twins (two young women in their early 20′s) came to me to be served, I realized that this was the first time, they would be served the wafer and the cup.  I gave the bread to Ariel with the explanation, “This is a small piece of bread.  Take and eat it.  Jesus said that we are to do this to remember that his body was broken for us.”  I explained the cup in a similar way.  Ariel solemnly took the wafer and small cup.  She ate and drank the elements.

Then it was Clara’s turn.  She is blind and in a wheelchair.  I placed the wafer in her hand and explained.  “This is a small piece of bread.  Jesus said that we are to eat the bread to remember that his body was broken for us.”

Clara felt the bread with her other hand.  “Jesus said that?  Wow!” she exclaimed quietly.  Somehow her simple exclamation did something new in my spirit.  The wonder of his sacrifice was magnified as I encountered anew the privilege his sacrifice affords us, giving us access to the Father.  My heart exploded with joy.

I gave Clara the cup and my feeble explanation.  Again, Clara took the cup and said, ”Wow!  This is for me?  Wow!”  By now I was weeping.  How can a simple “Wow” renew and even transform my understanding of Jesus’ sacrifice?  I have no idea. But I was acutely aware that access to the heartbeat of God is mine.  What more can be said but Wow?

As Clara’s simple exclamation made my heart sing, how has God opened your eyes to spiritual truths by the actions or reactions of others who honor and worship the Lord?