Last Sunday we celebrated the Lord’s Supper, as we do the First Sunday of every month. Were you there? After you drank the grape juice, what did you do with the little cup? Right — you put it into one of the rubber-lined holes at the end of the hymnal rack on the back of the pew ahead of you. Have you ever wondered what happens to those little used cups after the final hymn is sung and everybody leaves?
This question crossed my mind Sunday, so I did a little sleuthing. I wanted to make sure this was being done, because the people of NewLife Fellowship were beginning to gather for their 2 pm service. I was assured by my mole that there are several conscientious people who make sure this happens every First Sunday. (I can’t name names because this is a humble kind of service that requires anonymity to be effective.) I went back into the sanctuary and saw that the deed had already been done; not a cup remained. I noticed that there were thirteen pews on each side, twelve of them with two hymnal racks each. That’s twenty-four racks, with six cup holders each. A person has to walk through the spaces between pews, leaning over a little each time a cup is picked up. That’s quite a chore, especially for someone with back problems. But some ABCers have been doing this faithfully, month after month, for as long as the church has been here. I haven’t heard them grumbling, so I assume they’re serving the Lord willingly, maybe even cheerfully.
Think about some of the other acts of humble service that make it possible for us to worship in comfort and freedom. Who selects and hangs the banner on the wall behind the pulpit? How do Christmas decorations magically appear in early December? More mysterious, how do they come down in January, and where do they go? How does the church lawn stay so green through the dry summer months? Who counts the offering and sees that it is safely deposited in the bank? Who pays the electric bill so you’ll be able to worship in an air-conditioned sanctuary next Sunday? Who changes the diapers of those tiny children in the church Nursery while their parents are in the worship service?
We do have some paid staff — pastors, bookkeeper, administrative assistant, etc., but all the tasks mentioned in the previous paragraph are done by volunteers who are faithfully serving the Lord. Their consistency is a testimony to their love for God, and their efforts are really a kind of prayer of gratitude.
The gospel has come down to us over two thousand years through gifted preachers, teachers, missionaries and other up-front leaders. But the spread of the gospel has been facilitated and magnified by the many faithful, anonymous lawn-waterers, diaper-changers and electric-bill-payers.
Not to mention those stealthy cup-picker-uppers.
— Pastor George Van Alstine