The following is from my blog post on The Lutheran Center website which you can visit here.
As part of my seminary internship at The Lutheran Center, I spend time visiting residents at Tabitha, an elder care center here in Lincoln. Some days I sit with folks at morning chapel and help them get back to their rooms; other days I visit with those dealing with various stages of memory loss. Today I was able to help distribute Holy Communion to those throughout the facilities following the chapel service.
Entering into the lives of those who are struggling with aging, sickness, and end-of-life situations is amazing work, but it’s tough. The question many seem to wrestle with is how to be faithful to God during a time when it may be difficult to discern where the Holy Spirit is at work. For those who can no longer say the Lord’s Prayer, for those who haven’t been to church in decades, and for those whose realities are more colorful than our own, what does it look like to have faith?
The answer is quite simple, and yet so profound: we show our faith when we open our mouth.
Some of the residents I visited with today were eager to take Holy Communion. One woman, when asked if she would like the Lord’s Supper, replied with a smile, “Whenever it’s offered!” Another resident could not answer or shake her head, but when the wafer dipped in wine was put up to her mouth, she opened it. This is what faith looks like.
The same thing happens at The Lutheran Center. Students will get into conversations for hours on end in the lounge about God, the Bible, and what it all means. We can wonder what it looks like to have faith when there are so many questions swirling around in our heads. This, too, is faith.
We don’t have to understand the intricate theologies of the sacraments of baptism and Holy Communion. We don’t have to be able to profess the Apostle’s Creed from memory, and we don’t have to run from our questions. The simple act of opening our mouths, to participate in the mystery of Holy Communion and to discuss our questions about God’s presence in our lives—that is what faith looks like.