By Rose Cassie
Being retired, I am now enjoying reflecting on the shadow of the almighty hand of God moving throughout my life, past and present. Being raised with my older sister, I was the tomboy of the two of us, following Dad around doing yard work and helping him fix items on Mom’s “honey-do” list of things in need of repair.
Dad was a quiet, humble man with a clever, gentle sense of humor that made him fun to be around. He possessed a true servant’s heart that showed kindness to all. The fruits of the Spirit that Paul mentioned in Galatians 5:22, 23 were clearly evident in Dad’s life—especially the virtue of patience when I accidentally ran over the electrical cord while helping to mow the lawn (more than once!).
He would get out his tool box and the roll of black electrical tape, splice the wires back together, wind the tape around the injured area. I would thank him, apologize, and continue mowing the yard. Looking back there were multiple black tape marks all along the length of the bright yellow electrical cord, and in time the repaired spliced areas became so numerous he would decide it was absolutely necessary to purchase a brand new long extension cord for the old electric mower.
Dad’s jobs at church included attending board meetings, helping fix broken things, greeting church attendees on Sunday morning with Mom, and serving communion to believers in the pews and then passing offering trays.
Our church serves the sacred emblems of Christ’s broken body and blood every week as soft songs of Calvary play in the background. This had a special attraction to me not only because I love music but also seeing this sweet, fun father of mine become quite somber and serious. I looked forward to the day when I would become spiritually mature to come forward to the front of the church, commit my life to Christ, be baptized, and then be eligible to partake of those beloved emblems. And at age 13, one Sunday I made that choice to live for my Savior.
Time flew by and I married, moved away, and was busy raising a family. After a long week of hospital stress caring for sick, hurting, and sometimes dying people in my job as an RN, my soul was desperate on Sunday morning to come to the foot of the cross for that remembrance of Jesus’ love and sacrifice for me, which always refreshed and renewed my spirit. In Luke 22:19, Jesus told his followers to “do this in remembrance of me,” and for me personally, the communion service highlighted the entire meeting, rejuvenating my soul and giving me strength to fight off Satan’s arrows in the week ahead.
Meanwhile in Dad’s 60s, fine motor tremors began to manifest in his hands, and he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. The medications prescribed by the doctor didn’t really help the symptoms, and he did not feel well when taking them; since the meds are hard on the liver and kidneys, he decided not to take them anymore. He was covered in prayer and managed quite well for the next 15 years.
Upon returning home for a holiday visit one year, we went to church as usual on Sunday morning and I noticed Dad’s involuntary hand tremors had worsened significantly. He struggled to hold the communion trays of bread and juice still and level. When Dad moved to the next pew in the aisle, Mom and I solemnly looked at each other, and I fought back tears as both our heads bowed in prayer. I prayed fervently to the one who took our infirmities upon himself to strengthen my precious father’s hands to be able to serve the rather large congregation without spillage. And my prayer was answered, but the heartbreaking scene of Dad’s declining motor skills, difficulty holding communion trays, and his self-consciousness of it stuck with me.
After family dinner, Mom talked with me in private as we cleaned up in the kitchen together. Dad had told her earlier that he felt he could no long serve those blessed emblems of our Savior’s love and sacrifice, for fear he might possibly drop a tray, staining the beige carpeted aisle purple with grape juice. Sweet sorrow flooded my spirit as Dad passed on this service of love to another with younger, stronger, steadier hands.
When I am graciously served communion to this day, I still often recall my broken heart when I watched Dad’s struggle and I wanted more than anything to fix his afflicted hands for him as he had fixed so many broken things for me in life. I thank God every day for my beloved father of faith who regarded it an honor to obey Christ and serve others those sacred emblems that commemorate our Savior’s sacrifice on that rugged cross, the beauty of his forgiveness, and the hope of heaven because of his glorious resurrection and defeat of death! And I rest assured Dad’s tremors are no more as he is now in Heaven in our Lord’s service.
Thank you to all those faithful believers who continue today to serve communion and transport my heart to the cross, lest I never forget. You are angels on earth to me.
Rose Cassie is a retired nurse and has been a Bible school teacher for 50 years.