Prepared

It’s the Sunday before communion at my church, and that means it’s our preparatory service.

A time for each of us to evaluate our relationship with God and to share the results of that soul-searching with our church family.

 

I love preparatory service.

 

I marvel at the people who speak their hearts in a calm and clear voice.

I marvel even more at the people who speak their hearts in a quivering voice.

I grow more and more jittery

And I rehearse over and over in my head what I am going to say

Until it is well-nigh memorized.

 

I am going to say something about how

 

The message and the Sunday school lesson affirmed one thing that God has been teaching me lately, and that thing is that sin is sin is sin is sin. I am too quick to dismiss my personal sin as just “bad habits” or “areas that I need to work on”, when really, it is sin. Awful, ugly sin. I often think that I can fix these things myself by just making whatever changes need to be made. But when I do that, I deprive the Gospel of its glory and its power. I miss out on the beauty of turning to Jesus to repent and receive grace. I want to live out of a reliance on Jesus’ grace, rather than my own self-discipline.

 

Or I could maybe say something about how

 

This week I prayed and asked God for something, and he sent me three small answers to my prayer. The beautiful thing is that although these three things were small, they can all be grown and developed. They are beginnings, and beginnings are gifts.

 

Or

I could read Hebrews 10:14 and try to explain how I just do not understand it. It blows my mind. In the best of ways.

 

I think these things through and through.

 

But when it is my turn to speak,

I stand up,

And I say,

 

“I have peace with God

And with my fellow man

And I’m looking forward to communion.”

 

Just that.

It’s true

 

But it’s not everything.

It’s not the whole story.

 

I knew that was what would happen.

It’s certainly not the first time that something like this has happened.

 

I felt relief when I chose it,

But also grief.

 

Why do I always have to bring so very much of myself to everything I do?

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Journey

The road is heavy and long with questions and sorrows.

I try to tell the story myself to the stranger walking beside me.

“Don’t you know?” I say (incredulously).

“Know what?” He asks.

“What has happened! The pain. The injustice. The craziness of it. The impossibility of it.” I answer (emphatically).

“The utter lostness it brings me to,” I think but don’t say.

A pause from Him.

A kindly raised eyebrow.

An infinite heartbeat pulsing.

“Don’t you know?” He says.

“Know what?” I ask (foolish and slow of heart and terribly small-minded).

“Listen,” He invites. “We’ll go back. Back to the beginning. I think you’ll see things differently soon.”

The story lives and breathes

Beside me

Above me

Before me

Inside me.

My heartbeat warms all of me as it begins to align with the story.

With blood pumping and feet aching, it’s my turn to invite.

“Please stay. Please sit and rest,” I beg.

“I feel better with you here,” I think but don’t say.

I hand Him the bread

And He prays with an up-turned face and authority in His voice and love written all over His hands.

“So be it.”

The prayer ends, and those love-ly hands break the bread.

I need the nourishment of the bread after the drain of the day, and eagerly accept it from Him.

I raise it to my mouth, but before I take a bite, I allow the essence of it to fill me.

The yeast, the wheat,

The words…

This is His body broken for me.

I can hardly stand to raise my eyes, but I have to.

He is already watching me

Smiling slightly and kindly

And those love-ly hands held the bread that I am holding to my mouth,

And I don’t know what to do.

“Eat, beloved. You need it,” He says.

And I know.

I know that I need it, but it feels like I need it too desperately to eat it.

The bread is in my mouth, and I chew.

The swallow almost makes me choke over its beauty and its ugly, and my throat aches from the lump in it.

I am filled with everything that I could possibly hold and more.

I look to Him.

But He has gone, leaving just the torn loaf of bread in his place.

I swallow down the rest of my bread.

An infinite heartbeat pulsing.

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