I don’t know if it is the reality that Christmas comes in six months or just that grace has been on my mind, but they kind of came together this morning.Now this may be a strange beginning, but I will get there.
Sweat tickling down my back and lizards shimmying up the wall behind the pastor wanted to distract me but communion had always been a sacred, and a little bit scary thing for me, so I struggled to pay attention…even though most of the service was in a language I could not yet grasp.Women sat on one side, men on the other, and everybody else’s children sat up front. I still kept mine with me on the women’s side, about half way back. The pews were simply mud-brick benches – no back, and as hard as you can imagine. Occasionally the rooster, tied to a chair on the platform, given as an offering crowed, and a bee buzzed low around my head. But I could see the platter of chunked baguettes and cups of communion juice (is it sacrilegious to say it tasted sort of like ashes – not that I had ever imbibed of the juice of ashes) coming my way.
In those moments I became aware of the absolute unity of the body of believers. All around the world believers would be taking communion, drinking some juice, or wine, in memory of Christ’s shed blood and eating the bread (or crackers) in memory of His broken body. I was just a tiny part of that amazing body of people, of countless languages, of different skin colors, of different traditions even, but men and women and children who believed Christ paid their sin-debt on the cross – the greatest grace gift of all.Today I am grateful for the grace gifts of hope, of security, and of my place in a much larger family – the genealogy which goes beyond blood. I pray for the Body and I know there are those who pray for me. How amazing that is, to never be alone….God said He will never leave nor forsake us, but God can also lay me on the heart of some other family member, just as I am certain there are those I have prayed for who do not know me.
I am only beginning to understand grace, unmerited favor, the lavish gifts of God. This morning, I feel as though I am standing under a waterfall of His grace.