An irreverent look at motherhood and family life in a new state of normal.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Run! It's communion!

Why is it that as soon as it's announced from the pulpit or posted in the bulletin, we all find a reason to skip that week? "Let's do something in the mountains." "Camping anyone?" or the good old standby, "Communion this week. I'm sick."

Communion can be very frustrating. You are herded into an over crowded room only to be asked to find a partner. We all know from grade school that finding a partner is the worst! Then you have to remove your shoes (which, let's admit, no one wants to see) and get dripped on and sloshed on.

Back in the sanctuary, you are given the tiniest piece of communion bread ever and asked to hold it. You are getting hungry and the preacher is telling you about the reason for the bread and your minuscule cracker is melting in your hand. By the time he quotes the Lord and asks you to eat, you are licking the remnants off your hand and hoping for something salty at potluck.

Then they pass around the tiny cups and the warm juice sloshes over your hand leaving you sticky and ready for a baby wipe as you are finally asked to drink.

I realize that in the constraints of our modern service, it is hard to do more than we are to represent what our Lord had in mind.

As an academy teacher, I have seen communion done every year although I'm not sure they know they are doing it. It's called "Cry Night." At least, that's its unofficial title. Usually it's called Friendship Commitment. Everyone has a chance to find those people they may want to reconcile with and apologize, ask for forgiveness and pull together before they are separated for the summer or forever as the case my be. It's also something that many faculty (including me) tend to avoid.

I think this is the real reason we avoid communion. We are not reconciled. We don't want to be stuck washing the feet of someone we may have offended or visa versa. We don't want to admit to ourselves or anyone else that a relationship is broken. We are satisfied putting on the happy face every Sabbath and then going home and forgetting all about our troubles.

If I could do communion my way, it would be a feast. Large loaves of crusty bread with fresh grape juice and cheeses and fruits that would be more reminiscent of what they may actually have had (minus the meat...) to eat. Those with the gift of hospitality could really make this great. I would place the pastor at the head of the table and have us all find people we need to reconcile with. Then, when you have found spiritual healing, wash each others feet and or pray together as a symbol of your renewed relationship. Reconciliation is such a healing and spiritual process. (Not everyone needs to be reconciled with another human but we all can use that time to spiritually reflect therefore being reconciled to God.) As communion approaches in your church, find that reason in your heart that is causing you to run away. Is it the service itself or something more?


  1. That's really thought provoking, Cal. We did that once in another church, and called it an Agape Feast. It was so lovely. Truly felt like we were sitting down to fellowship with one another, in a way that made you really think about the process of communion and reconciliation. To realize that taking those symbols of Christ's sacrifice is a solemn and serious affair, one that seriously requires you attempt making amends with someone you have issues with before partaking, changes the way you take communion. I don't think the seriousness of it is made clear enough in the general communion service. Thanks for honestly sharing your thoughts!

  2. I like this... I wish we could have the feast instead of running through the motions, too. Love you!