So, another week came and went. If you’re curious about the progress I’ve made since my last post… Well, so am I. I’d like to tell you I courageously stepped forward, unfettered by fear and risk, and have come through the fire shining like gold. In reality, I’m Kilroy. Hiding behind a wall of inactivity, terrified of moving.
Communion is a big deal to me, and I have a hard time explaining why. My spiritual tendencies are largely eclectic, but I find I have a pretty brazen streak of Christian Mysticism running through my veins. I believe God can still do some crazy-go-nuts kind of things, and I’m very open to him doing those things in front of me. As such, I have a hard time taking one of the most important (and oldest) Christian traditions solely as memoriam. Unfortunately, that’s as much of a conclusion as I’ve been able to draw. I’m not going to say that I believe in transubstantiation, but I will say that I think something spiritual is happening when we take communion… I just don’t know what, exactly.
That said, communion has always meant something, even if I wasn’t sure exactly what. I don’t recall having ever been flippant about it. I’ve rewritten the sentence I’m about to write next a dozen times, and I know it makes me sound like a lunatic but I can’t think of any other way of putting it: When I took communion, I felt like all the dirt and grime my soul picked up since the last communion, was expunged. I know that theologically, the communion doesn’t necessarily offer any sanctuary from our sins. But in my mind and soul, it felt like a complete renewal that fought to undo all of the messes my broken humanness had made.
So there I was, three or four years ago at the end of my rope. I needed something, anything. Up to this point, communion had always been something that I could rely on to help center my spirit and make me feel like I was on the right track. Prayerfully, I brought the wine-soaked bread back to my seat. Hoping against all hope that this would make things right, I chewed and swallowed. What took place, was not an abundant sense of renewal.
It was despair. That bread carried every lie I ever told, every lust I ever harbored. In the moment I swallowed that morsel, I was swallowed by a darkness I had never known. My desperate attempt to interact with God had backfired, and for the first time, I was confronted with nothing but a deafening silence that hung like the barrel of a gun between my eyes. I felt the bread churning in my stomach, I could almost envision it turning everything it touched black. I broke out into a sweat and almost began to shiver. I needed air. The church, with its golden crosses and purple satin was rejecting me, pushing me out the door and into the night. I stumbled into the cool air and tried to speak with God. I knew with a certainty he could hear me… which made the lack of response all the harder to bear.
That, is what I’m afraid of. That is why bread and grape juice terrify me.
This morning, my wife sat next to me during worship after the sermon. A tear slid down her cheek as they began the call to communion, and she leaned over and whispered, “I’m ready.” Leah hasn’t taken communion in nearly as much time as I have, but for her own reasons. This was a huge step and I was thrilled for her… but her being ready was indirectly forcing me to confront my own fear. I tried to imagine taking communion today, but I couldn’t. I know that if I try and force it like I did last time, it will happen again, and I just can’t handle that. So, for now, I’m trying to understand it. I need to know what that darkness was there for, or why it was there.
So… I guess, all of that to say that this morning, and for the last couple of weeks, I’ve felt myself getting closer to answers. I feel like maybe I’m moving back towards the light, and perhaps there will even be a degree of understanding that takes place once I reach it. I don’t know when, but I feel like maybe sometime soon I will be able to hold that piece of bread in my hand and know that I’m okay.