Communion

I had a new experience recently.  I visited an old lady who had been told that she was at end of life.  She was in distress and I was called to give her spiritual support.  I had never been with a person who knew that their death was imminent and I was thrown into a panic.  I looked through some books for a bit of guidance and saw a suggestion about holy communion.  I knew that I could serve extended communion and considered going to collect the kit from church.  The problem was that this seemed inadequate.  I felt a strong need to bless the elements myself and for me and the lady to be joined in communion.  I can’t explain why extended communion didn’t fit with what I felt called to do.  In the end I didn’t bother because the lady was too ill and wouldn’t have been able to take communion.  It was unsettling to feel such a strong need to, what is the word, preside over communion.  It seems to me that I was trying to find a way to bring Jesus into the room with us.  In the end I gave the lady her holding cross so that Jesus would be at the centre.  We prayed and she thanked me.  It is a humbling experience to be in that situation, and a privilege to be allowed into such an intimate situation.  I wasn’t with the lady when she died but I have been advised to offer to be there with future cases.

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