Tag Archives: forgiveness

I Missed Communion, But Finally Got It

I like to pray before I take communion.

You see, I got it in my head (and by that, I mean at some point I assumed and then never thought to question) that I have to be RIGHT with Jesus before being welcome at his table: I have to look at the bad things I’ve done, actually feel sorry for them (sometimes I don’t *gasp* !), and then ask for forgiveness. And if I can’t make my heart right, then I should not come to his table.

I think it’s a common belief. Maybe even a liturgically correct one – how should I know? I never bothered to ask.

So tonight, as people started to rise to come to the Lord’s table, I closed my eyes, as I am wont to do…. and I really meant to pray. But instead my mind got distracted: Didn’t I read something about communion this week? Something I really wanted to remember the next time I took communion? I couldn’t remember what though (of course).

I started to backtrack: That book I was reading…. Searching for Sunday. Right. Something she said about communion. Uhhh…. people she doesn’t like. Wait, no. Who make her uncomfortable at communion. Because she doesn’t like them. (Guess I was right the first time.) People! (I’ve got it now.) Who don’t deserve communion, but are welcome at the table anyway, and it boils her blood.

Why the hell would I want to remember that? Oh. Right. Because she concludes with something like “thank God they’re welcome, because I’m one of those people who don’t deserve it.” (Paraphrase, obviously.)

I am one of those people who don’t deserve it. But I am welcome at the Lord’s table. *light bulb*

How foolish of me. To think that I could wash away all the hardness from my heart in a single, hurried prayer. To think that anything I could do (let alone say) could ever make me worthy to come to the Lord’s table. And yet, he invites me anyway. Just as he invited Judas, though he had already made arrangements to turn Jesus over to the chief priests. (I can’t imagine he whispered a quick little prayer of repentance before accepting the bread and the cup.)

I want so badly to MAKE myself RIGHT before coming to the Lord’s table, that I forgot that it is his supper that makes me right. “Do this in remembrance of me,” he said. “Christ’s body, broken for you. Christ’s blood, spilled out for you, Jessica.” They’ve reminded me over and over for years now, but tonight, for the first time (when I wasn’t even listening) – I finally heard and understood.

I can’t make myself right with God. And I don’t need to make myself right with him. Christ made me right when he died for me on the cross. I remember.

I opened my eyes, finally ready to take communion, and got halfway up to the front before realizing – communion was over! Everyone was filing back to their seats. I had sat, eyes closed, contemplating what it truly means to commune with the Lord… and missed my opportunity to do just that.

I turned to go back to my seat, hesitated, then turned around and ran up to the front. “Am I too late? Did I miss communion?”

Of course I didn’t. (Seriously, what kind of pastor would deny a girl communion for being 30 seconds late?) And we (I) may look late (or foolish) to everyone else – but whenever we come to Jesus, we’re always right on time.


To My Abuser, With Love

To My Abuser:

Even though years and miles now separate us, I want you to know that I still think of you often.

I now understand that the way you treated me was not right. Even more, I realize that many of the things I thought were “not okay” were not just “not okay” – they were blatant, obvious verbal, physical, and sexual abuse. I just couldn’t see it at the time because I loved you.

No. That’s not why. Because the truth is – the truth that most will probably cringe to hear is – that I still love you (in a way, at least). The real reason that I couldn’t see how deeply you wronged me at the time is because I didn’t love me.

I want you to know that I don’t blame you for the things you did to me, and (as much as I know some do) I hope that the people who love me don’t blame you either. You see, I’ve discovered that blame doesn’t solve anything. I know now that you were sick and hurting too (just as I was) and that’s why you did those things to me (why I allowed those things to happen to me).

In fact, blame doesn’t just not solve anything. Blame nurtures the cycle of abuse. As long as people point fingers at you, tell you that you are not worthy, a coward, a bad person… how can you be anything else? And as long as people criticize and belittle the abusers that we victims (survivors) so dearly love, how can we possibly trust those people to help us (me and you)?

I don’t know what has happened to you, and I don’t want to know – but I do want to hope. I hope that you have found peace. I hope that you have found acceptance, healing, and forgiveness. I hope that you wake each morning to a beautiful life, better than your wildest imaginings, and that you go to sleep each evening overwhelmed with gratitude for the second chance you’ve been given – just like I do. And I hope that you don’t waste or take a second of it for granted.

With Love,

Your Survivor

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness month. If you, too, are a victim and/or survivor of domestic violence and need assistance (or just a sympathetic ear), I encourage you to call the National Domestic Violence Hotline from a confidential phone line: 1-800-799-7233 or 1-800-787-3224.