my daily Eucharist

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Tuesday evening, as a simple act to end a simple night of prayer in the church basement, with the twinkle lights illuminating, I dipped a piece of bread in the cup and ate it. Together with my sisters and friends, in spirit with women all over the world, we celebrated what some call the Eucharist, some the Lord’s Supper, others Communion, and at this point in my life, what I just call it the Table -a place where we all come broken, all unworthy, yet all made whole and worthy by the very act that we are remembering.

Every morning, the very first thing I do is unscrew a lid, take out two tiny pills, one yellow, one pink, and begin my day with an act of humility. The same humility and surrender that brought me to the Table this past Tuesday evening. Every night, the very last thing before I get into bed, I again unscrew that lid, take out a tiny pill, white this time, and place it in my mouth. The tang of medicinal coating feels much like the tang of the juice soaked bread I place in my mouth every time I take communion with my community.

It’s one of those incomprehensible mysteries, this sacrament that we take together. The Catholics believe the bread and the wine literally become Jesus’ flesh and blood when we take it. The skeptic in me recoils and rolls her eyes at that description, but even I have to admit that something supernatural takes place during those holy moments. We take into our bodies that very things that are representative of Jesus’ death and sacrifice. The broken bread His broken body. The wine red like His blood. The very thing that brought death now, somehow, miraculously, brings us life.

The same thing happens to me each time I take my medicine. It’s a battle to surrender to my body in this way. I hate that I have to take daily medication. It’s a reminder, day after day after day, that I am broken. I can’t handle things all on my own the way I would prefer. I can never again live without taking these pills. I need help to do things that other people do without thinking. It is something completely outside myself that I am forced to depend on to function.

The humility I feel when I open and close my day with submission to these facts is the same humility I feel when I submit to the soul brokenness that I remember each time I commemorate Jesus’ sacrifice. I can’t control and handle everything on my own. I need Him in ways that I’d sometimes rather not admit. It is something completely outside myself that I am forced to depend on to function.

When I come weary to my medicine case, I remember the energy I will have because it causes my body to function differently. When I come bitter and wounded to those pills, I remember that these medicines bring healing and wholeness in a way that my flesh cannot bring on its own. I submit to the things that remind me of my own mortality and lack of control over my life because they bring life to my physical body.

When I come weary to the Table, I remember that I am carried there by the people of God. I remember that Jesus is the only one who can teach me real rest, who can teach me to walk in grace. When I come bitter and wounded to the table, I remember we are all in this together. I remember that we are all broken in the same way, and it’s only through Jesus’ sacrifice that we are made whole. I remember that this very thing which reminds me of death is the thing that brings life to my soul.

The medicine works life in my body. The bread and the wine work life in my body.

origin_3383659848“For we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.”
2 Corinthians 4:7-12

 

Daily, I come. Daily, I surrender.

 

 

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