At God's Table
It happens the same each time: the sermon has just been wrapped up, the band reenters the stage, and the campus minister explains the process, which leaves many wondering how to spell the word intinction.
Every time communion is served at Summit, it is served by attendees and church staff alike. The invitation is given to come to God’s table, not Summit’s. So while it can feel steeped in tradition, this opens up endless possibilities as to what may be happening in the hearts of each person as they approach God’s table. This seemingly simple act of taking bread and dipping it in wine or juice then becomes a deeply spiritual moment for many. For some, though, the act of communion can carry with it feelings of hesitancy due to odd experiences with the sacrament in the past. For others, shame charms them into the lie that they are unfit to take part. Harold and Connie Davis, however, experience communion as a tangible way to worship and thank God for sending his son Jesus to die on the cross for the sins of all—regardless of how worthy or unworthy they may feel.
Harold and Connie are two First Impressions and Prayer Team volunteers at the Summit Lake Mary Campus. They also serve communion, and know that people are sometimes nervous to partake. When Harold knows someone is hesitant to take communion because they feel unworthy, he likes to ask them, “Well, what did you do to receive God’s gift in the first place? Did you not come to him in your sin and as you are and accept his offer of forgiveness? I mean, he’s not trying to wait for us to clean our act up or get everything straight and in order before we can enjoy his blessings. He wants to pour out his blessings upon us and he’s done that through his son the Lord Jesus.”
If you were to ask Harold and Connie why they love to serve communion, you’d learn that it has an incredibly deep meaning for them: a meaning with roots stretching deep into the Amazonian rainforests of Brazil. They’d share that for them, communion is an act of worship that has brought their family through times of need and tension as well as times of generosity and joy. During their time serving with a nonprofit in Brazil, the couple had an aching desire to take communion but they did not know who could serve it to them. Then they realized something; they could serve communion to one another and to their children. They remembered that God calls imperfect people to his table, which meant that they already had everything they needed to lead their children into communion. No training or qualifications required: just acceptance of God’s grace. Out of their obedience to follow God’s pull on their hearts has grown a joy for service that is undeniable to those around them.
When families with young children come to take communion, Harold is known to get down on his knees in order to serve communion on their level. To kneel to the level of a child creates a physical, concrete image of the equality found at God’s table. For both Harold and Connie, serving communion means meeting people where they are spiritually as well as physically. Connie and Harold’s desire to share the communion table with people just as they are has had an impact on many, but especially on the Foley family. Doug and Naomi Foley are volunteers at the Lake Mary Campus and have four young daughters. Their oldest daughter, Hannah, is deaf. Harold explains, “Connie has learned how to say ‘The body of Christ broken for you, the blood of Christ shed for you’ in sign language.”
Naomi recalls, “The first time Hannah received communion from Connie after she had learned to sign ‘The body of Christ broken for you’ was powerful! The moment literally made me cry, and each time Connie or sometimes Amy signs that for Hannah it always chokes me up.”
“It really helps Hannah feel connected to the Lake Mary body,” Doug explains. “ It brings glory to God by removing barriers that separate his children from his presence.”
Separation is the opposite of what communion is. Think of it like this: if communion was a dinner party, Harold and Connie would probably be the ones getting everyone’s place cards ready. They’d go around and make sure everyone knew not just where to sit, but that each person’s seat was intended just for them: a personalized invitation to wholeheartedly engage in the meal and moment set before them. They’d help others find their way to the table. By simply communing with God and others, the Davis family has allowed God’s love and faithfulness to be on display in their lives.
Harold puts it simply, that “communion is an act of just understanding God’s forgiveness to us and our response is just ‘thank you, Father.’ It comes from a heart of thanksgiving: ‘Father, thank you for what you’ve done for me.’” Through Harold and Connie’s hearts of thanksgiving have flowed an invitation to others to approach God’s table just as they are and experience God’s mercy and grace.
Sarah was always the kid who had her journal in hand, but she started falling in love with the power of words as she was getting her degree in literature. She started attending Summit in 2008 when her college roommate invited her and quickly got involved at the Waterford campus in a Connect group and volunteering in almost every area of ministry here (even spending a summer as one of our interns)! Sarah met her now-husband through a road trip with two different Summit Connect groups. They love being outdoors — whether it’s a day at the beach, a kayak on a river, or finding some other excuse to run around outside!