I recently started reading Brother Lawrence’s The Practice of the Presence of God. One of the practices of that 17th century monk was to have an ongoing conversation with his Creator. I’ve been trying that today and it has been difficult for me. I have a mind that bounces around like a pinball.
At church, in the moments between when I stood from my seat and when I would receive communion, I was trying to talk to God through this static in my mind. Communion is important. I don’t want to do this lightly.
It’s probably less than ten steps from where we were sitting to where Stuart was holding the bread and the cup for communion. That is not a lot of time to focus, clear your head, confess your sins, and remember why we do this Lord’s Supper thing. But I was trying.
As EA received Eucharist in front of me, the noise inside went quiet. I’d like to say that my conversation with God was something profound. Yet all I could say was, “I’m sorry.” Immediately afterwards, I pulled a piece of bread and dipped it in the cup as Stuart said, “This is the body and blood of Christ given for you, Chris.”
Those words rang in my head as I walked back to my seat. Given for me. Given for us. The truth of the matter is, in spite of growing up in church, I don’t always believe that God loves me. I am too sinful. Or my theology does not measure up. Or I don’t tweet an ever-streaming line of inspirational quotes.
Ah, but I am not asked any of those questions when I receive communion. I come because I am needy. I need Jesus. And Jesus gives freely. It makes me want to have conversations with God all day long. It makes me want to live my life devoting my energy and imagination to a God that does indeed, for some reason, love me and loves us all.
An epiphany can be one of those “a-ha!” experiences when the murkiness of life becomes crystal clear. Yet Epiphany is also something we celebrate today. According to Wikipedia—a phrase that would probably give my seminary professors conniptions, Epiphany is “a Christian feast day that celebrates the revelation of God the Son as a human being in Jesus Christ.” This morning, I was fortunate enough to have that fleeting, but wonderful moment of epiphany on Epiphany. I like it when God does stuff like that.