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May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
— 2 Corinthians 13:14
Anthony, wearing a black bomber jacket and aviator sunglasses, paces back and forth outside my office. I’m on the phone, but he gestures repeatedly that I should “hang up the phone.” Now inside my office, he continues to pace, rips off his sunglasses, and blurts out, “I need communion. Now, Pastor. Sir. Now indeed. Indulge.”
Anthony struggles with his mental health. He has no access to quality mental care, so he wanders the streets talking to voices in his head, and he self-medicates with cocaine, marijuana, and alcohol. Five years ago he tested positive for HIV. His outbursts have led to his being barred from shelters around the city. He sleeps on a mattress in his cousin’s garage.
“Pastor, I need communion, sir, and I need it now.” Mental, physical, and emotional trauma have left him incapable of building trusting relationships. He needs to know he belongs—to God and neighbor.
Felisha and Raphael, church council members at Roseland Christian Ministries, are both present. We scrounge up some bread and grape juice and gather in a circle, the four of us in my office. “Anthony, the body of Christ, broken for you; the blood of Christ, shed for you.”
Anthony breathes deeply and says, “The body of Christ for me. Indeed. Amen.”
Lord God, move us into relationship with you, community, and creation. In Jesus, Amen.