Have you ever been part of an absolutely perfect party? The food was great, the people were great, it lasted for the right amount of time and you’ll remember it forever because it was perfect. Nothing went wrong. You didn’t even have to wait in line for the bathroom. It wasn’t just a party, it was a fiesta, a spiritual celebration that actually changed you, inspired you?
If you haven’t been part of a perfect fiesta, do you hope and pray that one day you’ll get an invitation to just such an event?
I think of communion as a fiesta, the perfect party. It’s perfect because I didn’t plan it, there is no other event like it, it includes food and drink, and it always inspires me.
I’m ashamed to admit I approach the alter the same way almost every time. I’m usually late. Time is and never has been my friend. I wish I could claim I’m always late because of a Good Samaritan moment but thankfully to my knowledge no one has been robbed the 200 or so feet between my house and church, so I am the only sinful and fallen preventing my timely arrival (Romans 3:23).
Some saints take it upon themselves to make sure I’m aware of the obvious with their stern greeting , “You’re late!” The Holy Spirit always watches out for these sainted individuals by telling me “claws in” before I can open my mouth.
The back pews are always filled so I have to move to the front. Sometimes Satan tries to reassure me that the congregation probably thinks the pastor’s wife is always seated up front as the service begins. It’s tradition. That of course only works if I get there before the procession begins.
If this is the first post you’ve ever read and you’ve never met me, let me reassure you that I do have issues and there aren’t enough tissues to deal with all of my issues. I am not making excuses; my tardiness is a sin. Satan always tempts me to turn around, telling me its too late, don’t bother, everyone will stare, I’m a complete disgrace but Jesus tells me to press on, I’m there to meet Him and He’ll be there-just keep going. So I do.
Regardless of whether its a traditional or contemporary service, the music always pumps me up. Its like a big pep rally for God. I’m either clapping my hands, waving my hands or being pumped up by the organ. It always feels like Palm Sunday. I’m on the right team. Jesus is going to solve all our problems. My God can beat your god! Yeah God! I toss in my offering to pay for all those rich blessings God is about to bestow upon me.
I pour out my heart to Jesus, let Him know how thankful I am that he came into my life, tell Him all my problems and the problems of the people I love. I cast (shuck) all my anxieties upon Jesus (1 Peter 5:7). I make it really easy for Him by sharing the absolute best way to answer my prayers; and I wait in anticipation of having my prayers answered, Satan defeated and the prosperity gospel to begin. Much like I did when I was a little girl in my closet praying for God to stop the abuse and make everything all better.
And then like Good Friday, things just don’t seem to go as planned. My faith isn’t turning out to be such a great insurance policy. Jesus tells me to love my enemies (Matt 5:44), forgive them (Mark11:25) or just shake the dust off my feet (Luke 9:5). And sometimes He actually asks me if want Him to help me endure my ailments. Now I know God obviously didn’t read my awesome plan for vengeance, justice and restoration of the proper order of everything. Happy, happy, joy joy!
I know most post-crucifixion followers of Christ, including myself, tend to associate with the disciples or other followers of Christ. Assuming we would never, could never shout out the words “Crucify Him!” But as a recovering victim, I know that while under the fear of the perpetrator it is best to agree with the perp to minimize the damage. Therefore if my Savior were arrested and in my opinion no longer able to be my knight in shining armor, I’d side with my perps. I know I would because I have. I also know I blamed God for allowing the abuse to occur, for not rescuing me from being raped, for not being the god of my design. I rationalized that sins perpetrated upon me cancelled out my sins. I didn’t need a savior, especially if that put me and my enemies on the same team.
Yet no matter how many times I shout out in anger, no matter how many times I deny Him, no matter how many times I’m late, Jesus still went to the cross. Jesus still died for me. Jesus still defeated Satan on the cross. His blood washed me clean. A clean I couldn’t even imagine. A clean I couldn’t obtain no matter how long or hard I washed after being raped. A clean that could only come from Jesus. A clean that says, “I know. I was there. I know what happened. I know who did this. I love you. Come be washed in my blood, let my Spirit be with you.”
No matter how distracted I may be during Church, those words “for you” always pull me back to the cross and I have to shout, “Amen!” and as I return to my seat I am washed with the glow of Easter. The tomb is empty! He has risen! He has risen indeed! Perfect!