How Communion Should Really be Done
I woke up this morning to birds chirping, sunlight streaming in my window, and my alarm clock ringing…which for some reason scares the hooey out of me. Come on, I’ve had the thing for over a year, you’d think I’d be use to the shrill, debilitating, incessant ring by now. And by “shrill,” “debilitating,” and “incessant,” I really mean “a peppy jazz rendition of “Gonna Fly Now” from the Rocky soundtrack set on repeat.”
Really, who can listen to the Rocky theme just once? No one…especially if it’s a peppy jazz rendition.
After my early morning fright I did my usual routine; shower, exercise, eat a very healthy breakfast, shower again, iron my shirts, and then leave for whatever it is that I needed to do.
All of that is true except for the second shower part, the healthy breakfast part, and the exercise part.
Well, wait. Does eating roughly one-quarter pound of Twizzlers count as a healthy breakfast?
No? Dang it. Ok, maybe I didn’t exactly have a healthy breakfast then.
Today is my weekend off from work, and it’s Sunday. So that means church with BFF Zach and his wonderful, delightful, blah blah blah other nice adjectives, and all around awesome wife, Kristen. (No, I wasn’t coerced into saying that. Scouts honor!)
The ride to the church wasn’t anything overly exciting. We (and by “we,” I mean “I”) ate a lot Twizzlers on the way there. (Healthy breakfast, remember?)
We went to the church’s Sunday school equivalent that doesn’t have an official name and I learned some interesting things. I’ll share one.
1 Timothy 4:12 “Let no one despise your youth; instead, you should be an example to the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.” (HCSB)
Traditionally, this verse is aimed at teenagers, children, and young adults to motivate them to do awesome stuff related to the Jesus and churchy things. It’s portrayed as “Hey, sure, you’re young and not experienced in real-life matters, but you can still be an excellent example of how great God is blah blah blah, and don’t you dare let anyone tell you different because of your age…even though you’re only 13, 23, 6, 17, etc. years old”
That’s horribly out of context. What’s really going on? Paul is telling Timothy to stand up to and correct the elders of the early church who were teaching false doctrines and doing other forms of stupid. Yes, the early church had tons of problems! And Timothy was relatively young and inexperienced. So, Paul, being awesome, was like, “Hey Timmy, don’t leg them rag on you and discredit you because you’re relatively young and inexperienced. Be above that; be a good example by conducting yourself with integrity. Have a higher standard of how you walk, talk, act, etc.”
That’s the context. It’s not about young people today being awesome examples of Jesus and whatnot; it’s about Timothy sticking to his guns and not being discouraged because of his age and the crooked elders trying to discredit him.
Mind blown? I know; mine was, too.
It was just all around awesome.
Then there was the actual service; it was pretty great. I realized some things, learned some stuff, and got excessively giddy at just how hyperfunctional this church really is. It’s just so happy! The people, the staff, everything! They have healthy and happy conflict, they communicate with each other well, they teach biblically accurate things; it’s how church is supposed to be done.
We did the communion stuff at the end. You know, the “drink some grape juice and eat a tiny stale cracker with a prayerful, reverent, and thankful mindset” thing. The juice stuff and the cracker-esk object are in two very tiny cups. I may have broken a few and spilled it on my clothes a few times over the years. Oops. But I didn’t today!
After you’re finished ingesting them, you’re supposed to quietly stack them like normal cups and pass them down the row or sit them on the floor in front of you to throw away later.
Generally, Zach sits on my left and Kristen is on his left and we just give all of our cups to Zach. Today was…different.
Zach had finished his communion-taking before Kristen and I had. I was about 3 seconds away, mid-drink. The whole place was super quiet with gentle music playing in the background.
Then, suddenly, I hear a loud and harsh whisper.
It’s Zach. He’s loudly and harshly whispering to me (while I’m still mid-drink), “Oh hurry up!”
It startled me and I jumped.
Then I choked on my grape juice and started to cough loudly, trying not to die.
Apparently we were somewhat loud and distracting, because some people (everyone within a ten-foot diameter of us) suddenly stopped what they were doing and just stared at us with irritated expressions on their faces.
Well, maybe it was curiosity instead of irritation. The two expressions are kind of easily mixed, and I wasn’t fully paying attention since I was trying not to die from grape juice-induced drowning at the hand of BFF Zach.
Either way, he got a well-placed slap on the leg from Wife Kristen. Then she started to giggle…which turned into a full-blown laugh, which cracked Zach up, which cracked the other people in our row up as well.
I started to laugh quite loudly myself, but only after I regained full control over my airway.
I didn’t die, by the way.
It was hilarious, absolutely hilarious.
Then we made jokes about it for the rest of the day and finished off that two-pound bag of Twizzlers. But only after we went to Five Guys and a mom ‘n’ pop ice cream shop. For the record, that ice cream shop has a wicked awesome chocolate milkshake. I would even be willing to bet that it brings all the boys to the yard.
That is how communion should really be done; with near-death, harsh whispers, and inappropriately timed laughter.