Written by Steven Liechty
Amy Jo Jones
"I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty." - John 6:35
He had two warrants out for his arrest in two different states before it was discovered that he had an inoperable tumor and was admitted to hospice.
He had never even heard of communion, let alone received it. A communion table was created in his home, using a broken-back chair and a white bar towel. Each time I said the words of consecration, he was nervous, interrupting, asking for a cigarette. His wife responded, "No, honey, you can't smoke in front of God." Communion with cigarette breaks. How can we not smile?
Grace arrives, unannounced, and intervenes where it is needed most. All that his wife wanted was that he would receive Jesus before he died. He did. He made peace with everyone in his life. He experienced the mystery of the sacrament. He understood the life-giving words.
What became important to him was that his family knew his sorrow, his awareness of mistakes, and his love for them. A broken soul being made whole with the grace of Christ. He experienced the mystery and smiled. He asked for a second helping.
Jesus, may our lives be the embodiment of your compassion in this world. Amen.
Amy Jo Jones is a hospice chaplain at Providence Home and Hospice Services in Portland, OR.