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.

It seemed like three hours but it was no more than 10 minutes.  Ginny–an elderly Special Gathering member with diabetes–has seen her cognitive abilities eaten away from the circumstances that surround her life.  As Ginny got off the SCAT bus to join us at Special Gathering, she was separated from the members going into the gymnasium; and she was swept away by a different group of adults going into the elevator.  She followed them into a different Bible study class.

They knew that she belonged with Special Gathering; but Ginny refused to go with a stranger from the classroom.  In the meantime, we were frantically trying to find her.  After a search of the church and the neighborhood, she was found by our supervisor who crashed the Bible study class and was told that Ginny was with them.

In the end, when I heart began to beat again, I was grateful for the system of checks that we have in place at Special Gathering.  Each person is checked four times:  1) When they arrive.  2) When they enter the room for worship.  3) When they go into their Bible study classsroom. 4) When they leave.  With 60 or more people, it could be easy to lose track of one person without this checking system.

As soon as we realized that Ginny had not entered the room for worship, we began to check the bathrooms.  Her routine is to go to the bathroom because she has a long bus ride.  When she wasn’t there, we checked the obvious places.  When that search didn’t produce any results, we canvased the building.  Then, the entire campus and the neighorhood was reviewed.   She was found safely tucked in a class in a secluded corner of the room.

The lesson I learned was that God’s protection sometimes involves our being proactive with safe guards.  My husband often warned me that my impulsive personality frequently prompted me to move from the bounds of God’s protection.  When our son was younger, he got large carbuncles as a result of playing in the sand in the vacant lot adjacent to our back yard.  His greatest joy in life was digging great big holes and then playing in them.

For about a year, I didn’t know why he was getting these bad sores.  The doctors had no clue regarding the source.  Then I noticed a correlation between his playing in the sand and these infections.  “We are tempting the Lord, if we continue to let him play in the sand,” my husband said.  Even though I knew we would be taking away his greatest pleasure in life,  it made sense.  He was no longer allowed to go into the back lot and the carbuncles stopped.

While our checks may seem inconvenient, it is a great blessing when we realize that the system works.  God’s protection is there but we must avoid tempting the Lord with our careless actions.