At the Table3:49 PM
"Bailey, what's wrong?"
I slump in the passenger seat, staring at the morning sun lighting up the freeway, fighting off faint motion sickness. Just my boy and I, dressed up all summery, traveling the thirty minutes to the Reformed church we grow to love. On time, for a change.
"Bailey?" Gently. "Talk to me, love."
"I don't really want to go to church."
Pause. Driving. More pavement flashing by. He waits for my verbosity to kick in and explain.
"I'm scared of Him. I don't love Him anymore, and I'm scared of Him."
And I have a little pang of conscience about what if they serve communion? Fortunately they will not, and I slump and stay silent until the car stops, I grab his hand, and we run into the sweet couple who found us lost in a corner of the church a couple Sundays ago.
We walk in, smile at a distracted usher who gives us the bulletin. We sit.
Cups and bread baskets line the table up front.
Dang it. You see, no one can eat and drink unworthily of the Lord's supper, experiencing His communion and His spiritual presence. Certainly not I. How embarrassing to abstain because of sin, because of lack of love. How devastating to feel left out of what once was rightfully mine. My plan of sitting stonily in church, ignoring the Holy Spirit's temptation to try once again to renew my first love with Jesus Christ. . .that crumbled.
Because I am tired of trying to love Someone I cannot and do not want to anymore. The romance left. The mechanical obedience ground rusty gears to a halt. We rarely speak, interact, acknowledge each other's presence. Well, I do not. I suspect He no longer does anymore, suspect the Catholics may be right about falling out of friendship with God and the Calvinists dead wrong about this eternal security thing.
Still. Maybe, maybe the Calvinists got it right? Maybe if I repent now? If the Gospel and forgiveness is true, available, here, now? What if I drop my defenses willy nilly in this moment, irrelevant of past and future failures? Then I can eat and drink. Then I can go into His presence, partake as His child.
I turn to my boy. "I am sorry for sinning against you," I whisper, squeezing tight his hand. Starting somewhere with the most recent faults. He smiles at me.
We sing with hundreds of voices, songs I never sung before that echo the throbbing hope of needing and wanting unbelievable forgiveness. We confess our sins, the very sins that plague me. The pastor opens his eyes and speaks over us the pardon from the heart of Scripture -- a God quick to forgive and slow to anger, who never, ever remembers the sins again as long as I live. He preaches a communion sermon unlike the ones I'm used to -- not one instilling fear about eating and drinking unworthily but one stirring up joy to pursue holiness and love and forgiveness. Unconditional forgiveness.
Oh. The Gospel. How I miss this story, this truth, this grace!
And then I get up, trembling with excitement, joining the lines of people getting out of the pew. We are forgiven. We get to eat at His table. I realize I am wearing a white dress, and the joy and the significance of that!
I take the bit of bread and look into the kindest eyes, the gentlest smile: "The body of Christ is broken for you."
I am beaming.
I dip it into the cup: "The blood of Christ is shed for you."
The taste of grape and bread melt on my tongue as I walk back, slide into my pew, grab my boyfriend's hand, eyes shining, grinning madly.
"What?" he asks, grinning back.
"I'm forgiven," I whisper, giddily. Nothing wipes the smile off my face. "How did they do it?" I ask. "This service seems tailor-made for me. Literally everything is what I need."
"It was tailor-made for you," he tells me.
"You're a sinner, right? You're a Christian?"
"It was for you," he says.
The body of Christ, the blood of Christ, the communion of Christ, is for me. And it's for you too.