On Sunday, I zoned out in church. There is an entire section of H’s sermon I completely missed. I’m sure it was good. It always is. But I wouldn’t be able to tell you much about it.
A lot went wrong on Sunday. Some of the music was off. The interim church secretary (that would be me) had forgotten to print the responsive reading for communion. The slides weren’t working for the person giving the announcements. The ushers missed an entire row of people when they were passing out the grape juice. And there I was, checking The Sunday Community on my iPhone.
Oh, the humanity!
When the ushers passed us by with the grape juice in tiny cups stacked in silver communion trays, the guy sitting next to me leaned over and said, “It’s a confusing day.” He wasn’t kidding.
Sunday was proof positive that no one gets it right every time. And sometimes, quite a few people, at the exact same time, get it completely wrong. We’re people, and sometimes wrong is how we roll. Even in church.
Thank God for grace.
Ultimately, the ushers remembered the row they’d missed, and I got my little plastic cup of grape juice. I tucked my iPhone back into my purse and looked up just in time to hear H invite us to take a minute before communion and just sit quietly — us and God. I didn’t have anything else to do right then, so I closed my eyes and took a deep breath, with that tiny plastic cup of juice and a miniscule communion wafer in my hand.
There was just enough time for air to fill my lungs. My shoulders dropped, and when I exhaled slowly through my nose I had the spectacular sensation of sitting in that upstairs room at the table with Jesus and his crew of twelve, and I knew this one sacrament connected me to them — the eleven who scattered in the night or denied they ever knew him, and even the one who kissed away his life.
H said what he often says: “On the night Jesus was betrayed, he broke the bread and gave thanks saying, ‘This is my body, broken for you…do this in remembrance of me.'” He was saying grace, and I can’t help but wonder if we human, ordinary, sometimes wrong, deeply forgiven church people might not benefit from saying grace just a bit more…