"I know Christians. They are the people who swallow God."
- a Hindu man to Ed Farrell (Living Prayer by Robert Benson)
The most important aspect of worship for me these days is communion. I could probably skip the music portion and be o.k. And sermons? Well, that's another post. But communion? The Lord's Table? The Great Thanksgiving? These days, that's what keeps me coming back.
I had a difficult time "getting into" worship yesterday. True, I was tired and distracted, but it was tough nonetheless. In fact, when I got up to make my way to the front of the church for communion, I felt heavy, solid, rock-like. But the second I cupped my hands together and extended them to receive the body of Christ, broken for me, I felt light, permeable, fluid. And as I stepped to the left and approached the chalice server and she said, "John, this is the blood of Christ, shed for you," I remembered why I woke up, got myself and the family ready, and drove twenty minutes downtown to attend church. Communion. It always leaves me undone. As it should.
As I returned to my seat, I looked at the long line of people, standing, waiting to swallow God. A beautiful mother with her newborn, a family with seven kids, a couple in their fifties, college students wearing what college students wear, a white haired lady shuffling her feet. Maybe they're like me. Music? Take it or leave it. Sermons? Sometimes. But communion? That's why they keep coming back. And they're willing to patiently stand and wait in line for their piece of God.
I read a lot of people who constantly criticize our consumerist society and the consumerist church, in particular. "Well, people just come to church these days for what they can get out of it, what they can consume." Some of that's fair. But some of it's too easy - cheap shots. We've always been consumers and we always will be consumers. The question is, "What are we consuming?" I firmly believe that life begets life. And I desire life. So do I come as a consumer on a Sunday morning? You bet your sweet cheeks. I want to consume that which truly satisfies, that which melts my frozen heart, that which leaves me undone. And I believe that's why we all keep coming back. Too often, we live the week nibbling on the world's crackers and we're hungry, starving. Sunday morning, we show up as meat and blood consumers. We want life. That's who we are. Christians. The people who swallow God.