Kaohsiung was our home for 25 years in Taiwan. Both of our children were born and grew up there. During those years as our work assignments changed we were part of a succession of different Taiwanese churches. We remained steadily part of the same English language church, though. Our children went to Sunday School and other “churchy” activities associated with it. When opportunities came to do things like read a scripture lesson during worship or sing in a choir, each was appropriately involved as willing. After I was ordained to the ministry, each regularly received communion on the occasions when I presided. Kate sang a solo in a Christmas Eve Festival of Lessons and Carols in 1992. When Grant went off to live in a high school dormitory he became one of the lay readers at Our Lady of Guadalupe Roman Catholic Church in Taichung. When we attended there one Sunday, he led us through the Mass. Now, it seems, the circle has come full turn.
From September 13th to 15th we visited Kate in Boulder, Colorado, where she’s an assistant professor at the University. She’s a member of Grace Lutheran Church, and is on the rota of 4 or 5 people who serve as assisting ministers (leading parts of the liturgy and serving the Lord’s Supper). She was “on duty” when we were in church that day. When it was time for the Lord’s Supper, the pastor led the liturgy and prayers, and members went to the communion table in the center of the church to receive the sacrament. The pastor distributed wafers saying, “the body of Christ broken for you”. Kate came along behind with the chalice saying, “the blood of Christ shed for you.” Each of us reacted exactly the same way. Looking into her eyes and hearing those words, we were driven to tears of joy and choked up, unable to respond “thanks be to God.” It wasn’t until after the blessing that we were able to say anything more than, “thank you”.
David Alexander resides in Holland, MI after 39 years in Taiwan.