As I child, I dreaded Communion. Not on any serious, theological grounds, but because my little brother Reed sat next to me and cracked me up. EVERY TIME. And the only thing worse than cracking up during church was cracking up during Communion during church. I would feel my dad's hand on my shoulder get tighter and tighter and...ouch, Dad!
And so I dreaded Communion.
But Reed's greatest Communion performance came when I was probably about 10, and he was 8. The plate was passed, and I was already biting my lip so hard it nearly bled. Don't look at Reed, don't look at Reed, I coached myself. Suddenly, I felt a nudge in my left elbow. Foolishly, I turned to look. HE HAD SPILLED GRAPE JUICE DOWN THE FRONT OF HIS WHITE DRESS SHIRT. I laughed out loud, very hard, and so did he. And, as I recall, that little episode bought us not just a shoulder squeeze from Dad, but a Trip Out To The Foyer.
The delightful irony of this story is that my brother now serves Communion. He is a dignified and thoughtful and profound pastor of a church in Missouri. He is a gentle and attentive husband and father (who better not, by the way, ever give his daughters a hard time for laughing in church). And he is a dear and genuine friend to me, one of the best I've ever had. Not bad for someone who answered the phone for an entire year in ridiculous voices to humiliate his big sister in front of her friends (a little fact I share with all of Bloggityville only because I have been waiting twenty years to get him back).
Happy birthday, little brother!