We took communion Sunday at church.
This has always been such a hard and holy experience for me. Growing up, it felt like a club I wasn’t allowed to be part of because I hadn’t checked off the right to-do list in my little life. Even when I had, I felt like I was always missing some apology or wrongdoing I should have sought forgiveness for before being allowed to take cup and broken bread.
Over the years, my perspective on a sip of grape juice and a torn piece of bread have changed and taking communion rarely leaves me dry-eyed or sober-hearted.
For one, I am simply undone that Jesus would pause His life long enough for a meal with his most intimate friends right before His last crescendo: death and resurrection. Seeing the weight of importance He placed on gathering around a table with these dearly loved in a time when I would surely be distraught with panic and hurry to get the last things done on earth that I wanted before dying has taken my heart to wild places in the past few years. I have seen with new eyes the times when God has intentionally gathered me with brothers and sisters under His covering, whether that’s with a friend over leftover soup on a cold Monday night or in a bustling house with a group of those I love to call family at Thanksgiving and Christmas. In these moments I pause and take an extra deep breath and see with extra observant eyes because our pause to gather takes my breath away.
Sunday I fought desperately loud feelings of loneliness and isolation while taking communion, though in a room of people I call my own. I am independent and do so much on my own, and love it, but sometimes desperately desire the covering and closeness of another. These thoughts were loud and obnoxious and brash and full of clamour. In the south, we’d say they were just a bunch of racket. And they were.
But in that same instant, I closed my eyes, speaking with my Lord, and was flooded with this deep swelling feeling. I found myself back in that sweet courtyard in Uganda: children’s laughter in the distance, the smells of mangoes and grass so specific and so real, the warm sun, weight of bottled water, and the very presence of some of the sweetest humans. I thought they were right there in the room with me. Full-hearted, I felt the joy and peace God had shown me so specifically in another sweet friend there – shining through the holes in her, her broken places, and into the lives of others. Impossible for her to enter a room or a hut without being noticed for it. An unmistakable joy and peace and such a beautiful, intentional reminder from our Lord.
I know it was only yesterday, but I keep coming back to that heart-flooded feeling of peace and joy. I can’t get away from it. How intentional He is to meet us right where we are and to open His arms to us even amidst the clamour and the “racket.” He is intentional, attentive, and faithful and I will wait for Him like the watchmen wait for the morning.