So today was what we call “big Communion” at St. Andrew’s – Communion taken by the whole congregation during our worship service. (We also have “little communion” on months when big Communion is not happening – that is, communion for those who choose to take part after the proper worship service ends.)
Now, if you read this blog regularly, you know I am continually working on my health – exercising and eating right. This has lead me to giving up wheat, sugar and processed food. I haven’t had any of that in more than 30 days now.
So when my colleague in ministry, Geoff, offered me the bread at the first of our two services this morning, I had a moment where I thought “woah, that’s not on my eating plan!” Of course, I took bread anyway, and as I ate, something rather wonderful happened. I’ll try to explain.
You see, I love bread. I absolutely love it. My Dad bakes bread. He began when he was in seminary and altered his recipe when he discovered that both of his kids were allergic to milk (a key ingredient in the store-bought bread when I was a child), so that we could have allergen-free bread. We always had Dad’s bread in the house. Bread, to me, has always tasted like home, security, family, warmth, love. In choosing to cheat on my eating plan, bread will always be my first choice. I love bread.
Communion has always been something if a mystery to me. Oh, sure, I’ve been through seminary, I can spout all the theology that surrounds it. But for much of my late teens and early twenties, I didn’t understand it at all. I took part, I respected it, I wouldn’t have ever chosen to give it up. But at the same time, I didn’t really GET it. And some of that feeling remains. I am closer to GETTING it than I ever have been before, but it remains somewhat mysterious to me. And that’s ok, because I am secure enough in my faith to know that I don’t have to understand everything that is part of my faith. I’m strong enough in my faith to allow some things to remain mysterious.
But today, when I placed the bread on my tongue during communion, I understood it a little more. You see, the bread tasted so very wonderful to me. Like love, security, home, family, warmth…like a taste of Heaven, of the most beautiful thing you could imagine. I’ve been without bread for so long, and this was good, fresh, fluffy, flavorful bread. In the liturgy surrounding communion we say, “taste and see that The Lord is good.”
And today, I understood that on a level I never have before. The thing I love about the life of faith is that it is a journey, a conversation, an on-going discovery. It’s never finished. God always has something new to show you, if your eyes are open to it.
During the journey of Lent, may your eyes be open, may you taste and see that The Lord is good.
But it was to us that God revealed these things by his Spirit. For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God’s deep secrets. No one can know a person’s thoughts except that person’s own spirit, and no one can know God’s thoughts except God’s own Spirit. And we have received God’s Spirit (not the world’s spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us.
1 Corinthians 2:10-12 NLT