It was just one line in her teaching, but it snagged on my heart.
“The Pharisees believed that if everyone could just keep all of the law perfectly for one day, they would usher in the coming of the messiah.”
I thought of how terrible a young Pharisee must have felt the moment he broke a law, believing that the chances for the messiah to come were ruined for yet another day and it was all his fault. Oh the heart-sinking, gut-wrenching, breath-taking sense of failure.
Maybe I thought of that because this week I have felt the heart-sinking, gut-wrenching, breath-taking sense of failure.
It isn’t that I’m failing to usher in the messiah; but my failure as a mama is painted across the bridge of my daughter’s nose in a nasty gash sewn shut with 5 bright blue stitches. Believe me, I rationally understand that accidents can happen to anyone, and that I can’t blame myself for the tumble she took out of a shopping cart and onto the can of paint while I tried to decide between Parrot Bay and Venus Teal. But like any mama, I do blame myself. And I worry about the scar that might linger – always shouting at me that I don’t pay enough attention… If I’m being honest, I know the scar on my own heart might last longer and do more damage if I’m not careful.
But that isn’t where the story ends, is it? We aren’t left with just scars. We attend a Presbyterian church… the service is contemporary, but there are traditional elements carried over. This isn’t my background, so much is new to me when it comes to the traditions. Communion is done every Sunday “by intinction.” A fancy word that means you come forward, tear off a piece of bread and dip it in the cup while you look the server in the eye as they tell you that this is the body and the blood, broken and poured out for you. There’s something holy in that moment. I have seen tears pooled in the corner of a woman’s eyes, spilling out as she repeats “this is the blood of Christ, poured out for you” for each person who dips their bread in her cup. It’s holy and it is raw and it is real and it is intimate… this reminder – from one sister to another – that this meal is enough… enough to fill our deepest needs and satisfy our aching hunger.
I watched a young boy eagerly walk to the front of the line today. The man holding the bread bent down and the boy ripped off a chunk. Not a dainty little bite like most adults take, but a palm-sized chunk. He smiled a gap-toothed grin up at the gentleman as he whispered the words, “This is the body of Christ, broken for you.” And I thought, “He’s hungry.”
And shouldn’t we all come to the table that way? Hungry for more of this grace? Hungry for more of this slate-cleaning, new-beginning, another-day’s daily bread? “I’m hungry, too.” I realized. I don’t want to be a pharisee in motherhood – holding myself up to a strict code of conduct and berating myself when I fall short; staring at my tear-stained face in the mirror before I go to bed, wondering why I can’t do a better job… why I failed yet again.
I want to be like the young boy, joyfully ripping off a hunk of grace and eating till I’m full – knowing that this meal is enough. Today communion meant more to me than simply a reminder of my salvation – it spoke “plenty” to me.
I’m hungry, and He’s inviting me to come to Him… to shamelessly tear off a big hunk of grace and eat till I am full and satisfied, content in His provision. To trust that this meal – and what it represents – goes before and behind me, making the way smooth and turning my brokenness into something beautiful, making scars faint but vivid testimonies to the mighty power of his healing love, speaking of His grace. To believe that when I am hungry, He is enough, and since He is in me, I am enough, too.
Are you hungry?