A Makeshift Communion
It was not a conscious decision. And honestly, why would it be? Who would decide to celebrate a victorious month of novel writing as a part of NaNoWriMo by getting a stomach bug? Not me, for one.
Yet there I found myself early in the morning of December 1st, texting my boss to say I would not be in to work that day and then sleeping for a good chunk of said day, eating mostly crackers and drinking mostly lemon tea when I was up. I hoped to be back at work on Friday, but after discovering a light breakfast was not going to sit well sent off another text before spending more time in bed.
Now I am a part of a church where we believe and teach that partaking of the communion elements can help make way for God’s healing to be manifested, as it is representative of Jesus’ redemptive work leading up to and on the cross. And as a part of that teaching, I have heard how Christians “need to keep their faith on God’s radar”, that “God is not moved by our needs, He is moved by our faith” – both ways of expressing things I believe to be true. We see Jesus telling people He healed while walking this Earth that their faith had made them well. So I’m not debating those things.
But here is where I found myself mid-morning on Friday, standing in the kitchen with hair disheveled while the cat wound his way around my ankles in a (near continuous) bid for more tuna: With faith that felt wobbly and wispy and not registering on much of anything, much less God’s radar screen. And as the cherry on top of a rather sad sundae, I also had no grape juice. Okay, technically there was grape juice in the fridge. But it was well past its ‘best before’ date. And a tetchy stomach paired with the aforementioned not-feeling-up-to-much faith (and common sense) left me with only one other viable option for my communion: orange juice.
I wavered. I did. A whole-wheat soda cracker for the wafer to represent Christ’s body – I could do that. But orange juice to represent Jesus’ shed blood plain seemed wrong. Yet … I also remembered hearing more than once that God will honour what is done with a good heart. And I wanted so much to not feel gross, to have my stomach feel good after I ate, that I poured the orange juice. And I said to God I did this all as respectfully as I could, and I ate and I drank and I asked Him to please honour what little I had to offer, to work with, and please make me well.
I was not healed right that second. There were a couple more weepy prayers and the retrieval of a beloved childhood stuffed dog and another nap. But by the time Jeff came home from work later that afternoon, I was itching to get out of the house, which we did. And I ate some sushi. And I got up Saturday morning and felt the best I had in at least a week, if not longer.
I did not offer poetic or emphatic prayers or confessions. I could not even get a proper communion together. But I was honest about where I was at, about where I so wanted to be, and I offered what I had – as incomplete as it was.
And I believe—I know—God heard me. He saw me. He honoured a makeshift communion of crackers and orange juice and teary-eyed prayers. And He made me well.