“We’re at church and Maggie is having a meltdown.
We just got a full page of single-spaced instructions on how to take communion here. She’s sure she’s gonna make a mistake and wreck everything.”
I got this text with the accompanying picture from our daughter Katy who was visiting a new church with Maggie in D.C. where they are living together.
Then last week we were visiting them, and arrived right after their second visit to this church. Communion is served every week and again, they were full of energy recounting their communion experience.
With great animation and hand gestures they said, “Everyone has to walk down to the front of the sanctuary, following the diagram and then it’s like a communion smorgasbord with 89,000 choices you have to make!”
On the fly!
In front of PEOPLE!
While thinking about JESUS!
Drink or dip, wine or juice, gluten free wafer or bread…
With all these choices, Katy mistakenly ate her bread before dipping, then drank from cup she thought was wine but was grape juice. Communion fail.
How can anyone reflect on Jesus’ sacrifice and God’s abundant grace when they’re worrying about DOING the wrong thing to celebrate it?
According to Maggie, “You’ve really gotta work for communion at this place!” Ironic isn’t it? Work to receive grace?
A friend of hers suggested she might want to do a couple of practice run-throughs before she came back again.
We were laughing at this experience, but I couldn’t help think of a friend of mine who had been in line to take communion once and watched as the girl in front of her systematically plucked piece after piece of the cut squares of bread off the serving plate and stacked them on top of each other in her hand.
My friend thought, “She can’t do that! You’re only supposed to take ONE! That’s not the way it’s done! Where are the communion police when you need them??”
Then it was like the Lord tapped her on the shoulder and said “This is what this meal is all about – lavish grace without limit. Offered at great cost, but free for the taking.”
We’re all beggars in need of bread, but perhaps this woman had a deeper sense of how desperately she depended on Jesus’ forgiveness.
Anyway, all this has got me thinking about our awareness of our own sinfulness and need for grace, whether we follow the directions for taking communion right or not.
Have you ever stressed over taking communion? Is communion conducive to paying attention to God’s work in your life? Have you ever made a “mistake” taking communion?