Not really fabulous adjectives. Particularly when it comes to one's soul. But, I admit that is where I spent part of last week. I know C.S. Lewis had eloquent thoughts on the intent and value of these spaces where the God I know is there is so hard to sense, but I prefer Brother Lawrence's approach of a constant closeness.
Of late, I confess there have been more days when I felt the Sahara in my chest than when love and awareness of God rushed forth.
Yesterday I went to a small diverse church I've begun visiting. We sang some songs that were uncomfortably close to the top of my range, including In Christ Alone, which always stirs me. Then we had communion.
I love this. I love the idea of ingesting Christ. I want to breathe him in, and exhale myself. I want to absorb him like the sun's rays on my skin. And, I want to take him as bread and wine if it will bring me even a little closer to him. And it always does.
When I had been unable to sense him in less tangible ways, I was fully able to grasp this sacrament. Literally, I held the little piece of bread, prayed with my brothers and sisters in Christ as the pastor blessed it, and then took part, joined through time to all believers clear back to the twelve who lounged around the table eating Passover when Jesus reached out, picked up a flat piece of bread, and then rent it as he said, "This is my body, broken for you."
I think its pretty well established by the rest of that evening's events that the disciples didn't know what He meant. They probably figured it was Jesus getting all deep again and they should just go with it. Maybe they were glad no one else was there to hear it and think he was weird.
But I bet a few days later, when all hell had literally broken loose and their leader had seemingly lost the war, that simple act came back to them. Cowering together in a shuttered room, eating the simplest of food, if they could eat at all, someone reached out and tore a piece of bread....and remembered.
Jesus had known. He was not surprised by death. He had planned ahead, an act so simple that it would be part of life, so poignant that the symbolism could never be lost. It was a reminder at every meal that their Lord was with them. Death had not beaten him, as they would soon find out, and nothing could truly separate Jesus from those who loved him. Nothing. Ever.
As I dragged my weary soul to church on Sunday and saw the elements on the table, so simple and so rich, I smiled. I remembered. And I was refreshed. No matter how vague, how silent, how dry my soul, it will not wither. It is cupped in the loving hands of Jesus.
Thank you, Oh Lord, for your faithfulness. Thank you that emotions are just that. Thank you for the incredible blessing of belonging to you. And thank you for communion, for knowing we would need a tangible reminder of what you've done for us. All my love!