When... We are thirsty or hungry
My grandmother was 95 years old the last days of her life. She had a mass on her intestines, inoperable, of course. The sign above her bed said, “Nothing By Mouth.” When she was thirsty, we had a small sponge on the end of a stick that she was allowed to suck on. She was thirsty.
I was there as both grandson and Pastor. The identity so overlapped it was impossible to distinguish which was fine by me. The nurse in charge had forbidden it but I was determined that my Grandmother and her daughter (my Mom) and her son (my uncle) would have one last meal together, the Lord’s Supper. It was my Grandmother’s desire. She was hungry and thirsty. So were we.
I laid a wafer of bread on her tongue, “The Body of Christ for you, Gram.” It dissolved on her tongue. And she was satisfied. So were we.
I touched the small glass of wine to her lips and said, “The Blood of Christ for you, Gram.” But remembering the restrictions given the by the nurse, I did not allow her to drink. My Grandmother opened her eyes, licked her lips, looked around and said, “I didn’t get any!” She was still thirsty. “Please,” she said. She was thirsty for that sip of Grace. She was thirsty for more than a taste of wine. It was the taste of salvation’s promise she was thirsting after. It was the liquid promise of eternal love. It was the elixir of forgiveness, one more time. I gave it to her. “Amen. Amen. Amen. Amen.” She whispered her thanksgiving to God.
The four of us were bound together in my Grandmother’s thirst. And we were also bound together in the liquid love of Christ. It was just a small taste. But it was welling up to eternal life.
“Come, everyone who is thirsty.” I’ve seen thirsty people find refreshment in that small sip.