"As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins…but because of his great love for us, God who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions." – Ephesians 2:1,4 (NIV)
Most all of us have, at one time or another, have forgotten something. Maybe we walked down to the basement to only then ask ourselves, "Why did I come down here?" Or maybe we misplaced our keys, or our wallet. Or there may even have been one of those times that we cannot remember someone's name. As long as these are not daily occurrences we tend to write them off as no big deal – "part of getting older" we say. But for me, last Sunday topped any of these examples of forgetfulness. If you were not with us at church, you missed it. During communion, after passing out the bread (matzo unleavened bread supplied by Joan Carroll) I then lifted the lid on the tray of cups. The cups were all there but they were empty, no juice. For a second I literally thought, "Is someone pulling a trick on me?" I then looked at the bottom tray then lifted the lid on the other set of two trays. Empty cups…no juice in any of the cups. It then struck me, "I forgot to fill the cups!"
Generally, I come in early on a communion Sunday and put out the trays, put the cups in the trays and then fill the cups. But as Good Friday had been that week I had come over on Saturday to clean up after the Good Friday service (popcorn on the floor, etc). Mai Tellado had already been in to clean the building earlier in the week and there was no way I was going to suggest she needed to come a second time, so I went over on Saturday and cleaned up. At the same time I thought I might as well get the trays and cups all set, thinking I would fill the cups on Sunday morning. But Sunday morning, being Easter morning with a special early morning rehearsal, my thoughts were elsewhere. There is no excuse: I just totally forgot to fill the cups! I had never done that before and I can pretty much guarantee I will never do that again! But what an embarrassing humorous event and story.
Since Sunday I have been thinking to myself, "I'll never get over it." That is, I will never forget what happened that Easter Sunday morning of 2021 and the story of the empty communion cups. That in turn has led to me singing, humming and whistling for days the song that Nate taught us a year or so ago: "Never Get Over It" by Michael Neale. Here are the words…
I once had a heart that was dead in the grave
Bound in the darkness, a powerless slave
Then heaven reached down from the cross to my soul
Hell started to shake and it had to let go.
I'll never get over it, I'll never get over it
I was dead in my sin but Your love wouldn't quit
And I'll never get over it.
In the future, I will likely feel a bit of embarrassment as I smile in reflecting back on the Sunday that I forgot to put juice in the communion cups. So, to some extent, I'll never get over it. To my grave (and after) it will remain a good story. But that story is NOTHING compared to the story of what our great Savior Jesus did for us when we were "dead in the grave." He SAVED US! His love for us was so great he did for us what no one else could ever have done for us. His love reached our souls and he saved us by spiritually raising us from the dead (theologians call it "regeneration"). What a Savior!
What a work of redemption. I'll never get over it.