Today I needed to take communion.
Lately I’ve been feeling a lot of shame. It’s a shame stemming from going through a period of spiritual questioning and redefining what faith looks like for me. It’s made me feel spiritually isolated, and even sinful at times.
Some Sundays I go to the church my fiancé attends, a Lutheran church where the congregation takes communion and recites the Lord’s Prayer together each week. I’ve always struggled to personally find meaning in church traditions like these, and even more so now as a sort of spiritual “misfit.”
Normally when I attend church with my fiancé, I stay behind while he goes up to the front to receive communion. I choose to do this partly because it feels a bit like a hollow ritual to me to take communion every week, but also because it’s uncomfortable to get up in front of rows of other churchgoers.
But this Sunday morning was different. I literally woke up thinking, “I really want to take communion today.”
Why? Because at my fiancé’s church, it is repeatedly said that communion is welcome to everyone. As I’d heard the pastors there say on previous Sunday mornings, everyone is welcome at the Lord’s communion table. Just as they are. And if there is one thing I’ve needed to feel more than anything lately, it’s to feel spiritually welcome, just as I am.
So today, I faced my fear of feeling uncomfortable and followed my fiancé up to front of the church at the start of communion time. When I reached my turn as next in line, I stepped forward and received a wafer from the pastor, whose smiling face and gentle words to me were life to my soul.
“The body of Christ given for you, Sara.”
The body of Christ given for me—still given for me, even in all my wandering. Her words when she initially invited the congregation to come up for communion continued to resound in my mind: “Jesus welcomed all to His table. He shared a meal with a man who would betray him, and a man who would deny Him.” He shared His last meal with an entire table full of people who would shortly desert Him at His darkest hour.
Certainly, Jesus welcomed me. Even now, He still welcomes me. No matter the questioning and wandering I’ve done, Jesus still welcomes me to His table.
Communion is the experience of still being welcomed at His table, and of being accepted by a community of faith. And I could not have needed to experience those things more.