Monday, August 31, 2009

Whining

I'm not a wine drinker.  I've never liked the smell or the taste.  This worked really well for this tee-totaling Southern Baptist girl.....partaking in Communion always meant grape juice.  When we lived in Madagascar I experienced my first Communion with the real stuff that Jesus drank.  And I hated it.  What was worse, they didn't use those tiny little cups like in our Baptist churches in America, they used these big shot glass things!  It was terrible.   I dreaded the first Sunday of each month when I was forced to imbibe.   Then we moved to South Africa.  Thank the Lord, they used sparkling grape juice!  I could finally enjoy the Lord's Supper again!  

Now we live in Mozambique.  The church we are members of first used wine for Communion.  And boy did I whine about it.  It tasted SO bad.  And they also used the BIG CUPS!  After changing pastors they changed from wine to some really wretched grape-ish juice.  I almost like the wine more.  I once again began to dread Communion Sundays.  

Are you starting to pick up on my spiritual depth here???  What was your first clue that for most of my life I haven't really gotten what Communion was all about?  I used to really look forward to the first Sunday of the month - the day for the Lord's Supper.  (I know some churches/denominations observe it every Sunday....why do we Baptists only do it the first of the month??) 

When I was really young I loved watching my pastor-father fill up the tiny Communion cups with the Welch's.  And what was even more fun was drinking the left overs from the cups not taken.

I remember being excited when I trusted Jesus as my Savior.  It meant a lot of things to me - that I was His child, that I would live with Him forever and.....that I got to take part in the Lord's Supper.  For years it was just something entertaining, something to break the monotony of a Sunday morning service.....the sweet tartness of the grape juice and the tiny little crackers.  It was almost like a little tea party!

It wasn't until MUCH later in my life that I began to really think about the meaning of Communion - that the "wine" represented the blood Jesus shed for me on the cross and the "bread" represented his body that was broken in my stead.  Yes, yes, yes I had been taught the real meaning since I was tiny.   I embarrassingly admit that too many Communions have gone by without me really taking it seriously, really contemplating Jesus' sacrifice.  It's only been in the last few years that the scriptures describing Jesus' last Supper with his disciples have really made sense to me......the gravity of the cup he had to drink.  

Then last month it hit me.  On the way home from church I was whining again about how bad that juice was that our church uses for the Lord's supper.   If we could just use grape juice that tasted good it would be.............

Better? 
Better for me to taste something sweet?  
Better for me to not have to taste something bitter? 
Better for me to not have to be uncomfortable?  

I feel ashamed writing this, that I have whined so much about the wine.  Wanting it to taste good.  What a brat I am!  Jesus suffered horrible pain and suffering the day of His crucifixion. For me.  And I can't swallow 2 tablespoons of cheap grape juice for Him?  

I'm willing to endure so little for Him.  I pray that I will be happy to taste the bitter juice next time.  That I'll look forward to this stark reminder of the cross.  That I'll never again wish for Communion to be an enjoyable experience.  

4 comments:

Cara Beth said...

I liked this post! :) and I LOVE you! I can only drink organic wine or grape juice because if I don't I'll get a headache...so you could just say you can drink it and pass it up. That's what I do! :) Then I have my own communion back home with gluten free wafers and organic juice.

Carpool Queen said...

I think there are so many things that we whine about because it's uncomfortable and distasteful. What a gripping reminder that He told us to drink from the same cup....the cup of sorrow, of pain, and also of victory.

Dana said...

Our church does Communion every Sunday and we use wine. I didn't realize how much it truly made me think more about Communion until much later. The smell of the wine as the plates are passed perfumes the entire sanctuary. Even the bitter at first then changing to sweet taste awakens something inside me each Sunday. The regularity (and even the wine) has added much to this sacrament for me. I know this isn't a great explanation--it's actually hard to explain the difference it has made. Thanks for this post--it is another reminder of what Communion should be about--with or without wine!! :)

Gretchen said...

Wow. THank you for this reminder, Angie. Sadly, I relate all too well about whining. Not communion wine for me, but certainly other small sufferings. Whom do I want to emulate again?