Ashton’s Act

Friday night, our church participated in a multi-church Good Friday event. It’s an inspiring time, with a mixed choir, gifted worship leaders and musicians from several churches, and pastors of different ethnicity share in the remembrance of our Savior’s death.

After my brief speaking role, my friend Randy Phillips of Phillips, Craig and Dean and Sr Pastor of Promiseland West Church led us in Communion. We had previously passed out tiny little, prepackaged Communion packets that resemble the little creamers you get at restaurants. They have a tiny wafer attached to the top.I had somehow forgotten to pick up a packet.

I reentered the cavernous auditorium as everyone stood for Communion. Since I had no packet, I just stood and quietly waited while Randy led us through the process. I happened to be standing next to Ashton Cumberbatch, an African-American friend of mine, a prominent attorney and a strong non-profit advocate here in Austin. Ashton attends Agape Churchwhere my friend Bishop L.A. Wilkerson is Sr. Pastor.

Ashton must have noticed that I didn’t have a Communion packet, because as Randy led us to eat the wafer, Ashton reached over and offered me his. I was immediately moved by this simple act of kindness–a black man offering to share Communion with a white brother. Perhaps it shouldn’t have moved me as much as it did, but I was really taken back by Aston’s loving gesture.

I broke off part of the wafer, and Ashton and I shared it together as the nearly 2000 others in the room ate theirs. Then Randy called us to raise our little cups together. Even though I knew what was coming next, I still wasn’t ready for it. Ashton tore the top of his cup and handed it to me. I took a small sip–a difficult thing given how small the little cups are–and then handed it back to Ashton. He quickly drank all that was left. And for just an instant, my world stood still.

For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, Ephesians 2:14.

Ashton’s sharing with me was a powerful reminder of what Jesus died to accomplish, and yet it’s an often overlooked part of our Gospel. You see, Jesus didn’t just die to reconcile us to God, he died to reconcile us to each other. He died to tear down the dividing walls between Gentile and Jew, black and white, Protestant and Catholic, saint and sinner, rich and poor, educated and uneducated. He died to obliterate all social, ethnic, geographic, political, religious, denominational, gender and any other barriers that separate people. He died to make us one, and Ashton’s act reminded me just how powerful, beautiful, humbling and inspiring a reconciled world can be. That’s why Ashton has committed his life to working for human reconciliation and, quite frankly, why I have as well.

I hugged Ashton after the service and told him it would be one Communion that I would never forget. And then I made a mental note to write about it today so you could be inspired by it too.

I invite you today to take the cup of healing, peace and love that God has given you and share it a neighbor, friend, coworker or relative who isn’t expecting it. You may be surprised at just how much it will impact them.


Posted April 9, 2012 on Will Davis Jr.’s Blog