Monday, June 13, 2005

The bread, the wine...the pretzels, and diet coke.

There's something about the Eucharist that transcends into all meal times I think---as long as people are open enough to sense it.

Tonight, after flying back from David and Kelly's wonderful wedding in Minneapolis, I had a two-hour plus conversation wtih Dot, a sixty-something-year-old Catholic who was exactly who I needed to talk with after these past few crazy weeks. It was the first real, amazing, transparent, affirming, Catholic / Protestant background dialogue I've ever had where it never turned into any sort of debate or argument. As we sat there, me in seat 16D and she in 16E, we said nothing until the breaking of the pretzels and the serving of diet coke. Up until then, we had both been reading or in our own little American Airline world...trying not to make contact with one another I think. But then, the food came and the pretzels were broken and the diet coke was served to both of us, and we couldn't hold back any longer. And God, I think, had something to do with all of this.

She shared with me about the rich tradition and meditative worship of the Catholic faith, and I shared with her my sunday school class Protestant upbringings, and told of how much I valued these memories today. She needed help with her parish in these ways, while I needed guidance in Protestant problems and it went on and on like that until our plane landed in California. We said our goodbyes, blessed one another and gave the kind of hug Jesus would be proud of, no doubt, and when our own little ways.

And after that wonderful moment, I thought again of how wonderful it is to be apart of something as radical and as breathtakingly beautiful as the Church of Christ. And I thought about the bond Dot and I shared---both spiritually and emotionally---and the common ground we walked on and talked on together. And I thought about the way we laughed at ourselves and joked about the silliness God must look down upon at us in---so often and so frequent. It was the perfect ending to two near-perfect weekends of two events where close friends were pulled together as one by God and by the Church.

I usually never say things like this, but I'm so looking forward to meeting Dot again--wherever and whenever that may be. If it won't be till' heaven, I'll be just fine with that.

And so, the breaking of bread and the sharing of wine proves to be more than just an act or sympbol or practice we meditate on when we remember Christ's sacrifice for us---for really, whenever there is a meal being shared by the people belonging to the open-wide-arm hold of God, and there is fellowship and food and laughter exchanged, there Christ is...affirmed and remembered in spirit, in act, and in action. And the world is really, as Bjork would say, "full of Love"---again.


Anonymous said...

Wonderful thoughts--beautifully written. How good and faithful God is in giving us the church--each other--to encourage and edify just when we need it! If ever you and/or Nate write a book, I will be first in line to buy it. And...I also would like to read that paper from last week!

Anonymous said...

You never know what a plane ride will do to you, do you? One time, I ended up sitting next to an Israeli archaeologist who was the historical advsisor for the Indiana Jones movies. Just last week, I sat next to Billy and Mae, a 60-something year old couple from southern Georgia who loved their children, loved Jesus, and were going on an Alaskan cruise. :)

It was so good to see you yesterday Neville...familiarity is such a wonderful thing. You brought up so many good things to think about, and though you probably didn't mean to, forced us to re-evaluate our life's direction. I'm encouraging Ben to go take a course at Fuller this summer to see how he likes it...those 2 week courses you mentioned would be perfect.

Thanks again for a memorable afternoon and making time to see us!

e.shorb said...

Thanks for sharing your heart and your always. Nate and I were talking about the beauty of litergy and tradition in Catholicism last night and how much there is to be gleaned from that type of worship experience. We protestants need to breathe air from outside our bubble every now and then - I'm glad Dot gave you some fresh insights and enabled you to glimpse a more universal body of Christ. I'll break pretzels and drink diet coke with you and Dot anytime :o)

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