The worship service had already started when I slipped in. I'd been helping in the church kitchen, cleaning up after the meal we always serve right before the Friday-night service. Looking at the pile of dishes in the sink, I thought about skipping the service completely. Still, it was Good Friday. They were serving Communion, and I knew I should be there.
The sanctuary was crowded. I spied my husband and saw he'd saved me a seat. When I sat down, I turned to the woman beside me and smiled hello. She was by herself, and I'd never seen her before, so I leaned over and whispered, "Are you with one of the other churches visiting tonight?"
"No," she answered. "I haven't been to church in a long time."
I nodded my head and said I'd traveled that road myself for a few years. We talked for a few minutes during the music. I answered her questions about the church, even leaving the sanctuary to find a brochure for her to take with her.
Once the music ended, they started the Lord's Supper. Row by row, we made our way to the front, where our pastor and another church leader were holding a loaf of bread and a cup of juice. We would tear off a piece of bread and dip it into the cup as we passed by. It was a solemn, meaningful experience, especially walking by the cross that they'd placed on the stage just for this service.
The woman sitting beside me didn't take Communion, remaining in her seat instead. When I returned to my seat, something led me to reach out and pat her hand. We sat in silence in the darkened sanctuary for a moment, while the rest of the congregation filed past the front of the church.1