Nov 152013 5 Responses

On Faking Communion and a Prescription to Drink

The first time I ever drank alcohol, it was a communion experience gone bad.

In the tradition in which I grew up, alcohol was forbidden. And by forbidden, I mean that no one actually admitted they drank. We all knew they drank, but no one would actually admit to it. Everyone wonders where President Clinton came up with ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’ but to me the answer was obvious—he grew up Baptist.

Growing up in that tradition, I never drank. It never appealed to me. For me, a coke without the crown has always been good enough. Only recently have I been tempted to start drinking. After breaking up a drug deal or an affair in the church parking lot, I sometimes consider a “scotch on the rocks.” I have no clue what it tastes like, but I always liked butterscotch and I’m not opposed to ice.

My lack of youthful drinking actually came back to hurt me. A fact I left out of the kidney stone event as told in the only time I was ever stoned, was a visit to a urologist. The source of my stones was too many cokes. While explaining my need to stop drinking cokes, he asked if I ever drank beer. I said, “No.” And he said, “Well you need to start.” He prescribed one a day to help flush the kidney stones out. I didn’t know where to begin, so I contacted a few Home Group members who were more than happy to assist their pastor. Five guys and 20 different types of beers later, I never got more than the first sip down. I went back to the doctor and told him of my drinking problems and he said, “Yep, that’s something you really need to start at 18 not 35.”

My first drink didn’t come until seminary—yes, everything you need to know about me can be summed up that my wild years were spent at seminary. Jenny and I were invited to a house for a Good Friday meal and communion. After the dinner, everyone sat in a circle as someone led a short devotional and then he began to pass a common cup.

Again, growing up Baptist, the common cup was a new thing for me. Us Baptists might have believed in fellowship but we didn’t believe in swapping spit except for the occasional romance at summer church camp. Sharing the saliva with whomever happened to be on our right or left in a service was too much to consider. I never even liked it when a guest song leader would want to close the service with us all holding hands while singing, “I’m So Glad I’m a Part of the Family of God.” I was glad to be in the family with these people, but I didn’t want to hold their hands. (Partly, because I saw what they did with them when my head was bowed.)

So the common cup was being passed and it came to my wife and she did something I had never seen before—she faked it. She faked communion. “She faked it, Jerry.” What kind of woman fakes communion? She brought the cup to her lips, pretended to drink, and then passed the cup to me. I was outraged. You can’t fake communion. When it comes to church, you can fake compassion or condolences, but not communion. I couldn’t believe it. I knew Jenny had a healthy sense of germ-a-phobia, but I had no idea she would be willing to forsake her Lord for fear of the flu.

When the Cup came to me, I was ready to make a point. I boldly confessed my love for Jesus by focusing more on what he had done for me on the Cross than what the previous 13 people might had done with their lips. I took and I DRANK. I was proud of Jesus even if the grape juice tasted bad.

As soon as we got to the car, Jenny said, “I was surprised you drank wine.” I said, “Well, I was shocked you wouldn’t drink from the common cup…what do you mean I drank wine?”

Come to find out, the grape juice tasted funny because it was fermented and sold out of a glass bottle.

So to summarize:

If you need a prescription for alcohol, get a kidney stone.

If you see a Baptist in a liquor store, don’t forget–don’t ask, don’t tell.

And if your wife ever fakes communion, you probably should too.

Happy Friday.

5 Responses to On Faking Communion and a Prescription to Drink

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