Friday, September 29, 2006

Shalom and Bread

My mother is a stain ninja.

She can attack and remove anything that might think it found a permanent home on a beloved piece of clothing. As a child, chocolate ice-cream remained my all-time favorite snack. After ballet, she would drive me to Beasley’s, and I would run inside and buy an ice-cream. A small dollop dripped down my chin and onto my t-shirt each time. However, those stained never lasted long. Mom defeated them whenever the shirt finally made its way to the laundry.

Even though I have been doing my own laundry for many years now, she still will grab the articles of clothing with stains that I cannot shake. A few of those stains are precious to me. The small paint splatters on jeans memorialize artwork that soothed my soul while I was creating it. Most importantly, several jackets and blouses now are emblazoned with a small purple dot on the sleeve. At all costs, those stains will remain.

In my life, few things stay the same. Change thrills me, so I move towards it. Still, a few constants in my life bring peace. One of them is church on Sunday mornings. We take communion every week. The weeks that I have the privilege of holding that cup as everyone dips the bread brings consistency and steadiness to my life. It offers a connection that extends beyond words.

Lauren Winner describes the sacrament of communion in her book, Girl Meets God. She tells of a young girl with dark curls and her description of the Eucharist. “I think he (the priest) is pouring God into the cup for us to drink.” Winner tells that this young girl must have a deeper understanding of communion than the rest of us who are so caught up in an argument between transsignification or consubstantiation. She just knows that God is present in that cup.

When I hold the cup, I can see those who dip in it from another side. Each face holds eyes that tell a story. Some cry as they step towards the cup. A few close their eyes and pray quietly before they dip. Others hold the hand of a child or the hand of the person they love most when they take communion. Some quietly whisper words of thanksgiving. No matter what they are thinking, they do not see me standing in front. They only see the cup. As they dip into the cup that symbolizes the sacrifice of Jesus for them, they might drip on my sleeve a bit of the juice, the wine, the reality of God.

My stains show that Molly, Debbie, Meredith, Randy, Kevin, Justin, Cathy, Keith, Carol, Wayne, Stanley, Marilyn, Chris, Sarah Grace, Kelly, Bart, Savannah, Leaf, Paul, Julie, Samantha, Don, Josh, Margaret, Lexie, Patty, Jason, Tara, and all of the rest are loved by God. He loved them so much that entered into this world to walk with us. He died for us. He gives us a better way to live and to love.

Now, I am honored to hold the cup for them as they walk through their lives with Jesus. Winner also tells of Elijah as he “slept under the broom tree.” She tells the story of the prophet in the Scriptures and that the angel told him to “arise and eat, the journey will be too great for you.”
Our journeys are too great. We must eat what God has given to sustain us. I am so thankful that on Sunday mornings, I take the bread with those who are equally as thankful.


Blogger Kathryn said...

Thank you. This made wonderful reading!

4:46 AM  
Blogger SingingOwl said...

That was wonderful!

2:50 PM  

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