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New Year’s Eve Communion Gone Awry

December 30, 2008

Now that I have returned from the double whammy of finals week (had to deal with finals at my job and in my own educational pursuits), I am thrilled to be posting again. Please accept my sincerest apologies for the lapse in blogging. You may feel free to catch up now on all that sleep you lost while wondering what had happened to me.

Since I missed my opportunity to share some wonderful Christmas stories with you, such as the year we decided to do Christmas the “old-fashioned way”, or the time that Ben nearly lost a foot in his hurry to get to presents, I will skip on to New Year’s. One memory stands out far beyond the rest.

This particular year, we accepted an invitation from Mike and Becky to spend New Year’s with them at Shiloh, Aunt Colleen’s cabin on the lake. In addition to watching movies and playing Settlers of Cataan, some of us thought it would be spiritual of us to attend New Year’s Eve Communion at the nearest church – Piney Grove Baptist Church, or as we like to call it, Tiny Piney. Only the girls had the gumption to go, so Becky, Mom, Shannon and I piled into the van and headed down the road, agreeing that Grandpa would be very proud of us.

We piled into a pew and doubled the communion population. Soon, a small, bespectacled man with orange-brown hair and a black robe on took the center of the stage. He had one of the faintest voices I have ever heard. His New Year’s Eve monologue struck me as being particularly stale and boring. I recall his saying something about how we should resolve during the new year to be “better human beings.” I had been planning to try amphibian life for a while, but he convinced me to stick to improving as a member of the homo sapiens species for at least one more year.

Communion followed his not so stirring message. The little man gathered the bowl of wafers and a wine chalice and invited us to kneel at the front of the church to receive the elements. So we knelt – Mom, Shannon, me, then Becky. The minister served Mom first, for which I was grateful – communion can be served many different ways, and I appreciated having a couple of examples before my turn came. The procedure seemed to be to take a wafer from the bowl, dip it down into the juice, then ingest the elements and enter a state of prayer.

When my turn came, I dipped the wafer into the glass and noticed that there was something amuck with the juice but wasn’t quite sure what it was. Next it was Becky’s turn, and let me just say – of any of us girls at communion that night, Becky would have had the greatest aversion to dipping her wafer into a glass contaminated with everyone else’s wafers and fingers. I was therefore not surprised to see her very gingerly dip the wafer about a quarter of the way into the glass, then pull it out to make sure she had reached the juice. Nope – the first try was a negative, resulting in a juiceless wafer. So, not one to do communion wrong, Becky dipped her wafer a second time, a little deeper. She pulled it out and let out a nearly audible sigh – still no juice! A third time, Becky inserted the wafer so deep that she could feel the juice on her fingers, then pulled it out…

There must have been a real rush on grape juice at the Wal Mart that night, because the pastor of Tiny Piney had opted for white grape juice for this communion service. Becky’s communion wafer was nearly soggy at this point, but she took it like a trooper. The rest of us had great difficulty maintaining the meditative atmosphere, as the temptation to burst out laughing was a constant throughout the rest of the service. I do think that Grandpa would have been proud of our efforts, despite the way we trashed the Tiny Piney method of communion all the way home.

Communion Cocktail

Communion Cocktail

In preparation for a fresh year, keep in mind that each new day presents opportunities to make wonderful, lasting memories. And if you attend a New Year’s Eve communion service, do me a favor and let me know how it goes.

Happy New Year!

Editor’s note: It has been brought to my attention by more than one reliable source that I got the location completely wrong. I have to say, I am glad I got to tell you about Tiny Piney, even if it wasn’t the right place. We were actually somewhere in Myrtle Beach, FL. Many apologies for not getting my facts straight.

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