I’ve been attending a new church the past few weeks. One of the things I’m attracted to about this group of believers is how they handle communion. I grew up in a Baptist megachurch. Our quarterly communion days came in the form of individual plastic cups, fluted like a flower. They were filled half-way with grape juice, and each had a little pocket where a perfectly symmetrical crunchy wafer got tucked in. There’s nothing wrong with serving communion this way. When your worship center seats 5,000 on a given Sunday, efficiency becomes the name of the game out of necessity.
But this new church has a different philosophy. Each worshiper comes forward, tears a piece of bread from a loaf, and dunks it in either wine or grape juice, then goes back to their seat or a special area at the perimeter of the room to contemplate the sacrifice of Christ. I found this to be one part of the service I was really looking forward to last week on my second visit. I’d had some things on my mind over the weekend, and I wanted to take advantage of the time to sit and listen to what God had to say to me about them.
I walked to the front and reached for a peak near the top of the bread loaf. A chunk about 3 inches in length tore off. I looked like I was there for dinner, not communion. I dunked it in the grape juice. The freakishly large piece of the body of Christ absorbed more liquid more quickly than I anticipated, and red liquid ran down my hand as I walked back to my seat. As soon as I sat and bowed my head to begin praying, the bread broke in half, and I caught it in my cupped hand.
Great. Frustration overtook me instead of the calm feeling I so longed for. “God? How can we talk if everything’s going wrong?” I took a deep breath and tried to refocus. I really needed to hear from God in this still moment, when The Toddler was playing in the nursery and I could listen without distraction.
Then the two people behind me began talking. “Hey…Do you come here often?” Really. He used the world’s worst bar pickup line. They kept talking, loudly. And once the worship band began to play, they altered their volume to be heard over it. I had one voice in each ear, and neither was the one I’d hoped to hear.
“God! What are You trying to tell me? I can’t hear You! Everything’s going wrong. I grabbed this huge chunk of bread which caused juice to leak all over me. Now I’m sticky, and the bread is broken in my hands and these two people won’t shut up. They’re distracting me.”
And then I knew. Everything was going right.
God wants us to grab the biggest chunk of Him we can get our hands on. He wants us to dive in.
All I could think about was washing my hands, being clean. But Christ came to get messy. He took our sticky sins. If I want to be out there and be light to the world, I’m going to have to deal with a sticky world.
He asks us to come broken to Him. Only when we break our lives down can He rebuild in us.
And there are always going to be distractions. I’ve got to work on my focus so I know which voice to listen to.
I came to Christ’s table with my own expectations, and when they were not meant, I assumed the worst. But God had other plans. He took an awkward, sticky, broken, distracted mess and constructed a communion that brought me closer to His heart than any shared cup and bread ever had before.
What has God turned around in your life lately?