Jesus, as I sit here, holding this cracker and this cup, I’m not even sure what to do with it. I mean, I know what it is. I know what it’s for. I know what it means. But… wow. I’m unworthy. I can’t look at the cup without tasting blood. Mine or yours? I don’t know, but it sure doesn’t taste innocent. It tastes dead.
I believe that you died for me. At least, I want to believe it. Sometimes, I question even the simplest parts of my faith. I understand that your love is vast, endless. But why is it bestowed on me? I’d like to think that maybe you don’t know what you’re doing. Maybe, in the expanse of time, I slipped through the cracks and can benefit from your love. Of course, if you’re careless enough to let one slip through the cracks, than you are not perfect, and therefore not God, and therefore not worthy of any of this. So you love me. I don’t have to understand why, but just that you do. I’m trying to accept this much.
But back to the task at hand. I’ve got this bread and this cup that I should not be holding right now. I should be dead. It would make sense for me to have died from some horrible overdose by now. Or maybe a car accident. Some grizzly, fiery sort of accident would made an excellent and climactic ending to a six-day meth binge. I’m just glad I never killed anyone else. God knows… well, you know I should have.
I’ve got a lot against me. Sin was kind of thing, and really, it kind of still is. I’m pretty good at it, and even though I know it is killing me, I find myself enjoying it. I can’t imagine the pain in your eyes as I, your betrothed, go off whoring around with the devil. Am I being too dramatic? I’m a miserable excuse for the bride of Christ.
Everybody else is eating their cracker, but I can’t. Not yet. Jesus, I can’t take this unworthily anymore. Play time is over. I can’t live halfway, balancing on life’s proverbial fence, serving two masters. It’s not working, and I’m going to fall, and when I do, I’m going to hit ground on the bad side and it is going to hurt. So I’m jumping now, praying that you catch me, knowing that you promised to do it, and I’ve got to be okay.
I look again at this cracker: your body that was broken. It’s always struck me as strange that you broke the bread some 2000 years ago, and we commemorate it not with broken bread, but with perfectly shaped crackers. I squeeze the cracker in hand, and I meet resistance. It doesn’t want to give, but finally, it shatters into crumbs in my palm. With it, I feel a bit of release. It’s as if something within me breaks loose. I don’t know what it is exactly, but I’m going to hold on to it.
The thought of this cracker symbolizing your body chills me. As I raise it to my mouth, I can’t help but see you broken. Your image flashes before me. The whipping post, the anguish as you drag your cross, my cross up the hill, the desperation as you cry out “Eloi, Eloi! Lama Sabachthani?” or “My God, my God! Why have you forsaken me!” (It has always sounded more desperate in the original language.) I bite down, and it’s dry. It crumbles even more in my mouth, and it sticks in my teeth. But this isn’t a pleasant snack. This is your suffering, repackaged into an oyster cracker. As far removed as one is from the other, it is a reminder.
So Lord, now I hold this cup of juice. This blood that for 33 years pumped through your veins and sustained your life was spilled. Your life was ended so that mine could begin. Jesus, it’s your blood that makes me right with God, and it is needful because I am so wrong without you.
I raise the glass to my lips, and as I drink the juice, I imagine (even if only for a moment) that it is your blood. I’m taking your life into mine, and letting you have all of me. It’s more than juice. It’s submission. And while it brings me life, it is your life. My life is over, when your life begins in me. And when your life begins, truly, so does mine. Again, I don’t understand it, but I don’t have to, either.
All I can say is thank you. There are not words enough to adequately describe what you have done for me. Your love was given freely, and I had nothing to give in return. But I’ll take it, and I love you, too.
* * * * *
The hymn I pulled is rightfully titled “God Will Take Care of You.” The lyrics were penned by a woman who was home sick one day, and when her husband saw them, he sat down at the organ and composed the music to match. The whole thing was not birthed with long hours spent with pen and paper, but was simply an overflow of the knowledge that God will indeed take care of you.
My rendition is short, but it says what it must. The original is short as well, and is available here.
The forces of Hell doth rage eternal,
They are loosed, and focused on my soul.
Praise God for my blessed incorruption!
Though I am in the blaze, I am not consumed.
Though I am stomped, I am not crushed;
Though I wear down, I do not faint.
And when the trumpet sounds, I’m going home
Where I’ll be safe, unblemished, and free.