I recently joined the ranks of those who take Extended Communion to our homebound members. I’d been on the list a few years ago, but never actually got to go on a visit. Much of my service to the church has involved organizing and planning or teaching. Those who are heavily invested in congregational care inspire my awe and appreciation because I am on less comfortable footing there.
My foray into serving Extended Communion began easily enough in March. I had a delightful visit with an old friend, and managed not to spill grape juice on her lovely sofa. But my second attempt, just this week, found me up to my ears in confusion: I misunderstood the directions about where I was supposed to be serving, missed the phone calls from another elder that could have straightened me out, and then panicked that my mistake would leave one of our homebound members without communion.
Suffice it to say that I ended up going to two homes. I’ve since had a good laugh about it with friends and with Betty Peraldo, who organizes the Extended Communion. I called her to explain how I’d messed up – you don’t want Betty finding out you messed up through someone else! But at the time I felt hapless and inept.
I’ve thought about those visits since then, however, and how much I enjoyed them. One was with that same old friend I’d seen in April, and the other with a couple I’d never met. And beyond the sense of having messed up, the awkwardness of trying to remember the words of communion, the hope that I wouldn’t fumble too badly, I discovered something else: Sharing communion with homebound members of our congregation wonderfully embodies our church community.
Whether they are 30-year friends or unfamiliar folks that joined in recent years, our homebound members are part of us. And we are blessed to be able to spend time with them, hear their stories, remember and appreciate their contributions. I hope someday if I’m bound to home that someone will come and bring my beloved church community to my door.