On Sunday evening at Camp Agape, we had a bread and cup service. Each year, the members of several programs of Special Gathering gather for a spiritual retreat in Vero Beach at Life for Youth Camp during Memorial Day weekend. This year we had about 180 people who attended from seven of our programs. People came from as far south as Port St. Lucie and as far north as Jacksonville. We are rrestricted in the number of cabins we could use. Therefore our numbers dropped from approximately 220.
Special Gathering is a ministry within the mentally challenged community. We exist to do classic ministry, discipleship and evangelism. This is our purpose and our mission. Camp Agape is a set-aside time to get into the skin of our members and for our members to get to know each other.
Each day at camp we eat our meals together. We sleep in the same cabins. We play games, do crafts and slide down the waterslides. The highlight of the weekend is the bread and cup service. Here, we remember the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus. We also want to embrace the time of fellowship that this meal represents.
As in years past, we have served the bread wafers and the small cups of grape juice in two lines. Each person is given the invitation, “If you are a friend of Jesus, come.” During the mingling in the aisles as people wait for their turns, there is a stirring of the love the Lord has for us shown by the fact that he would come to die for the bad things we do.
Five years ago, when The Twins (two young women in their early 20′s) came to me to be served, I realized that this was the first time in their lives they would be served the wafer and the cup. I gave the bread to Ariel with the explanation, “This is a small piece of bread. Take and eat it. Jesus said that this was to be done to remember that his body was broken for us.” I explained the cup in a similar way. Ariel solemnly took the wafer and small cup. She ate and drank it.
Then it was Clara’s turn. She is blind. She is unable to walk and is confined to a wheelchair. I placed the wafer in her hand and explained. “This is a small piece of bread. Jesus said that we are to eat the bread to remember that his body was broken for us.”
Clara felt the bread with her other hand. “Jesus said that? Wow!” she said. Somehow her simple exclamation did something new in my spirit. The wonder of his sacrifice was magnified as I encountered anew the privilege his sacrifice affords us, giving us access to the Father. My heart exploded with joy.
I gave Clara the cup and my feeble explanation. Clara took the cup and said, ”Wow! This is for me? Wow!” By now I was weeping. How can a simple “Wow” renew and even transform my understanding of Jesus’ sacrifice? I have no idea. But I was acutely aware that access to the heartbeat of God is mine. What more can be said but “Wow”?
As Clara’s simple exclamation made my heart sing, how has God opened your eyes to spiritual truths by the actions or reactions of other people?