When you move, everything is new and different.
It’s challenging, exciting, frustrating and requires a flexible mindset..not something I’m famous for. Some issues are a given, like finding the “right” grocery store or getting used to a new hairdresser; others just pop up out of nowhere.
Many Methodist churches only serve communion once a month and yesterday was ‘the day’ at our house of worship up here in North Carolina. While everything leading up to this part of the service seemed the same as at our old churches in both Florida and Pennsylvania, the actual process was unlike anything we have ever experienced. It left both my husband and myself in a moment of “participatory panic”..
“Yikes! Do we do this?”
You see, this church quite literally uses real loaves of bread and a couple of big cups of juice. You get out of your seat and stand in a long line until you get to the front. The pastor pulls a small chunk off the loaf, hands it to you and you dip it into the cup.
Now for you Catholics, this is probably not that unusual, but we are used to trays being passed around. First comes the tray of broken up wafers, then comes the tray full of little plastic mini-cups filled with juice. (My girls used to save our empties for their American Girl doll house.)
Of course the first thing I thought of as I watched the congregation gather in two lines was “EW!!!..this is really GERMY!!” It didn’t help that a large group of kids had flooded into the sanctuary from the various Sunday schools to join their parents. My husband’s eyes met mine and he scrunched up his nose. I whispered that I was fine if we didn’t do it.
But then I started thinking about the germs that are no doubt smeared all over everything else I touch in my life: the grocery cart probably being the biggest repository of assorted goobery grossness…
“What the hell!” I mumbled to myself as I got up to join the solemn communion line.
(Yeah, I know…but hey, that’s what I was thinking!!)
Once at the front, I was given a pinch off the loaf. I was feeling pretty comfortable about the whole thing until I turned to the cup and noticed it was full of tiny bits of soggy,broken off bread…ugh!! It reminded me of our fondue pot at the end of Christmas Eve dinner with people’s lost chunks of meat in the oil.
I wondered (for just a second) what would happen if I simply said “no thank-you” in a really polite voice and bypassed the cup. Way too weird..I agree..and I’d feel like I would need to follow that up later in the hall with some long lie about being allergic to grapes.. so instead, I swallowed hard, dipped the tip of my bread into the mush and quickly put it in my mouth.
In the end, I was actually very glad we chose to partake, and to be honest, even though the cup part is kinda yucky, I loved the feeling of getting out of my seat and joining the congregation in this very meaningful ritual.
I’m ready to embrace this change..I really am..
until flu season hits.