J. J. LeVan
The Smash and Grab Communion
I was raised in a Baptist church. Observing communion was always a very sober and reflective time, as it should be. We sat. We passed. We prayed. We partook. We worshipped.
The church where we now attend releases the congregation row by row to come forward to partake in a communion filled with options. Along with the petite cups of juice, there is a fresh loaf for tearing and dunking, there is an individually packaged, covid-friendly option, and there is now a gluten-free wafer choice. The latter is a perfect choice for my son who experiences a giddy, acid-trip type of reaction whenever he ingests gluten. (The initial giggles are entertaining, but the residual behavior issues that follow last for days.)
Blake, though verbally, communicatively, and expressively limited, loves Jesus with everything that he has in him. He has been successfully “doing communion” for quite a while now. Years ago, when he first began showing signs that he wanted to participate, it was a no-brainer decision for us. Since then, I have learned that quite often people of different abilities are sometimes refused communion due to their inability to communicate effectively or their limited understanding. (See Matthew 19:14)
Not too long ago, when our row was invited to walk forward and participate, I watched him waiting patiently in line with our friends as we all moved toward the table at the front of the sanctuary. He had come such a long way in these formal, social practices. He quietly crept closer and I reminded him of the gluten-free wafer option in the baskets provided.
I went first. I’m a tear & dunk-er. Since I am a fully tactile learner, this option connects with me. I tore. I dunked. I slowly turned to walk away, trying to keep my eye mindful of my fellow worshipper.
He had taken the cup, of this I was sure. I saw it happen as I was tearing away my yeasty morsel. But it was the basket full of glossy, rice crackers that caused a mischievous spark within my young man. It was a spark that could not be contained.
And that’s when it happened.
How many he grabbed, I cannot say for certain. I know that I heard the smashing shift of many crisps. That was right before he put a LaBron James' style "pick and roll" move on me. In a flash, he dodged his way around without spilling even a tiny drop. He then hustled down the aisle and sped back to his seat. I froze, jaw-dropped. An elderly lady gasped. I glanced at her side-eyed; her face scrunched indignantly.
Maybe she just didn't like LaBron.
By the time I reached him, there were still 2 wafers in his hand. I took one of them. “We take only one,” I whispered quietly. The service was to end in minutes, so I saved the rest of that conversation for the car ride home. To my dismay, I wasn’t even really upset. It was just another one of our teachable moments. (I may have actually been smirking as I scurried back to our row. I can’t be sure. People in shock can never be sure.)
A bit rattled as we returned home, I was wondering if we had ruined the Lord's Supper that day. I had sensed that we had "bothered" more than one. But, while trying to only be concerned about the opinion of THE One after this situation, I felt the still, small voice of God calmly breathe into my spirit:
...Blake just wanted MORE.
He wanted MORE of that communion.
He wanted MORE of that God-community.
He wanted MORE of that...Jesus.
Do YOU want more of Me?
The question burrowed deep.
One dictionary definition of communion discusses the action of the Lord's Supper, as expected. Yet, another definition quotes: "the sharing or exchanging of intimate thoughts and feelings, especially when the exchange is on a mental or spiritual level." In the end, this had become a true communion, at least for me. It may have been the best communion ever.
There has never been another smash and grab communion, before or since that day. Yet, the echoing of that question begs me deeper each time we inch closer to those bland bits in the basket.
Do I want more of Jesus?