Monday, June 15, 2015

The day I skipped Communion

I have some food allergies, some more worrisome than others. One of the most difficult to deal with has been my reaction to gluten, which, after some experimenting last summer, I concluded that I had to drop. It's been a slow process, and at first, I thought I was okay with a little in my diet.

That's becoming less and less the case, and two months ago, after I took Communion at my church, I got a rash and experienced some stomach issues. This is a problem. We're an evangelical church that does a Communion service once every eight weeks, and we don't offer gluten free bread. The obvious answer is to bring my own bread, but, of course, I forgot to do that when Communion rolled around again.

As an evangelical Christian, I believe Communion to be an important, symbolic ceremony that reminds me of just how much Jesus went through to pay for my sins. I do not, however, believe that taking Communion is a requirement to get into Heaven. And since I know God knows exactly what spot I'm in, and he is entirely in control (he could take away the gluten sensitivity if he wanted or even cause me to just not react to the gluten in communion, but he hasn't), I have to believe he wants me to learn from this.

Maybe that lesson is just that I ought to write myself reminders about bringing bread to church, but I suspect he has something more in mind.

As I think about yesterday, when I passed that plate of bread wafers without taking one for myself, I felt like I was doing something wrong. I felt a little isolated and excluded, and I wondered if everyone around me was wondering why I didn't participate.

But as I thought about what God wanted, I'm reminded that he's not nearly as concerned with outward ceremony as he is with my heart. Hosea 6:6 says, "For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings" (ESV).

The nice thing about being pulled from my routine is that I'm forced to remember and re-examine this truth. The ceremonies are good. They have their place, and they were set there by God. But they are not my salvation. That relies entirely on Jesus Christ.

There are some other ceremonies that, for various good reasons you might not be able to observe from time to time. Maybe you get sick and are bedridden, so you can't get to church. Or... well who knows what twists and turns life will take? Thankfully, God doesn't change. He'll always care about our hearts over what we're able to do.

Your Sister

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