I did not see Manfred for a few months, but lately he has been back in worship. He is looking both healthier and happier, and I am discovering that he has a very good sense of humor. The pianist speaks a little German, and they have a good time conversing. However, he is still not entirely pleased. Communion is bland. I can no longer drink the juice left in the cup, and often, the places I go do not have a sink that is readily accessible. Therefore, I have served plain water for over a year. I figure Jesus changed water, not Welch's, into wine. I must ask that he continue to do so.
This week, Manfred handed me a $20 bill. "Go get a nice bottle of communion wine." I explained that it probably not a good idea for me to be drinking wine as I move through the day. "Manfred, my services are loose enough, don't you think?" He and the other residents laughed, including Betsy, who was feeling pretty miserable that day. I tried to return the money, but he insisted I keep it. I told him I would pass it on to the ministry. While not entirely satisfied, he seemed to feel good about making a contribution. I have a couple of dollar bills that others have given me over the months, so I guess it is time to send a deposit in. Many of the elders long to tithe, but often they have absolutely no money left over at the end of the month. I treasure those dollar bills and the blessings that generally accompany them. I can assure Manfred that his donation is in good company. I shall not tell him that water is good for us. He knows that all too well.
You bring bread from the earth,
and wine to gladden our hearts...(Psalm 104:14-15)