Speechless

I have discovered that it’s always a million times easier for me to write when I’m supposed to be writing something else, like a ten page paper for nursing, or a two page summery of an impossibly long and dense theology book that gives me aneurysms and ah-hah moments simultaneously. Anyhow.  I read this passage of Scripture with some of my people this week,  and we were all left pretty much without words when we read this together. The only thing it could collectively draw from us was an “amen”. Well, besides my imitation of a Baptist preacher. We all know how I aspire to be Beth Moore . I have a deep and abiding love for Southern lady preachers. I just adore the way they can invoke “amens” and “uh-huhs” from everyone who listens to them. I’m going to attempt to bring a little good old Baptist into this little post, because some passages of Scripture just require more “amens” and halleluiahs than others.

May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all patience and joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light… He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. (Colossians 1:11-12,15-20, ESV)

Can I get an amen?  I’m not a Biblical scholar, or an expert in interpretation or ancient languages or exegetical reasoning. I’m not a Southern Lady preacher, try as I might to tease my hair all big and add a few y’all’s in my vocabulary. I’m a twenty-something sitting in a Californian coffee shop with my Bible spread as wide open as the November sky, marveling at how words written thousands of years ago can steal my breath away today. I believe in the importance of reading Scripture  in the context community, because these words were letters written to communities. We see and understand the greater picture in light of each other. But this moment right here? There is some sort of Holy intimacy created when my bibliophile self can sit in silence and be moved by ancient vocabulary. There are theological concepts and deep debates rooted in this text, of which I could spend hours analyzing and working through. But I choose instead to  sit in silence and let these words seep into the deep cracks of my soul, I let the text read me. My original intention with this post was to elaborate on this text, to flesh it out in terms of how I have understood it as it has worked through my life this week. But I sit here, breathless in light of  holy and sacred words, incapable to explain just what they are.

Amen? Amen. Have a beautiful week, my friends. Eat some pie. Because it’s the most important thing besides education. And family.*

Later Days,

Jess

*obscure Gilmore Girls reference. See video for further explanation.

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Eucharist

I have a problem with communion bread. Whenever I go up to get my piece (my Church is super cool and we make our own communion bread), I always tear off a tiny little crumb. This makes the whole part of dunking the molecule of carbohydrate the grape juice slightly awkward for all parties involved, because there’s always a question of whether or not I will end up immersing my whole hand in the juice to saturate my tiny crumb, or just lose the bit in the juice all together. After laughing about my unique talent with one of my friends on the way to church last Sunday, she suggested I tear off a larger chunk like normal people do. So I did. I took my big chunk of the bread, and promptly lost half of it in the juice. My knee-jerk vocal response to situations like this is to utter a pseudo curse word, so I of course said “dangnabit” as I lost the bread. It was what my Church family calls a “classic Mid-City” moment: slightly awkward and extremely hilarious.

I grew up attending an Episcopalian church. I remember being completely fascinated by the stained glass windows and candles and the liturgy. I remember my first time taking communion and not liking at all the way it tasted (side note: Episcopalians use real wine for communion. I was incredibly confused by the use of grape juice as “wine” when my family went back to church). I didn’t fully grasp the significance of the words spoken over me: Body of Christ, broken for you. Blood of Christ, Shed for you, but I knew what I was partaking in was incredibly special. During my Sophomore year of high school, my family started attending a tiny little church in the gym of an elementary school. We sat at round tables and drank lots of coffee.  Although we were a casual gathering, something special happened with communion. The gym became sacred space, with our crackers and grape juice.

The word Eucharist is taken from the Greek word charis, meaning grace (give me a word, any word, and I show you how the root of that word is Greek). The Eucharist is God’s grace. Body of Christ, broken on cross. Blood of Christ, spilled for the sins of many. In a Beth Moore study I did a few summers ago called “Jesus the One and Only” (don’t get me started on my love of Beth Moore. There are few things in life I love more than big-haired Texan lady preachers who write), the most profound part of the study for me was the part about Last Supper.

The four cups of wine served at the Passover meal represented the four expressions, or “I wills” of God’s promised deliverance in Exodus 6:6-7…The third cup was traditionally taken after the supper was eaten…This is the cup of redemption…We know Christ did not literally drink of this cup because he stated in Luke 22:18 that He would not drink of another cup until the coming of the kingdom of God. Instead of drinking the cup, He would do something of sin-shattering significance. He would, in essence, become the cup and pour out His life for the redemption of man…That most holy weekend, the Passover was fulfilled.

That’s the cup we drink when we drink the Blood of Christ. We drink in remembrance of the cup of redemption, of perfect blood shed for the sins of all. Whether we drink real wine, or Sysco brand generic grape juice, the Body remembers the ultimate sacrifice together: Blood of Christ, shed for you. For you.


This is the reality of grace.

Later Days,

Jess

My love for this movie shall endure forever.