(The manuscript for my next book is due this Friday. So this is guest post week! Here’s one by Katie McAleece. You can check out her blog here and follow her on Twitter @katiemcaleece. If you want to write a guest post for SCL, here’s how!)
Passing the Communion Cups
You need to know your Church’s Communion schedule.
This is something that one of the deacons can probably provide to you; don’t be shy about asking for it. (Just trust me on this. You can thank me later.) You can also go the slightly more difficult route and try to figure it out on your own: take note of your next Communion Sunday in your phone, and then check the calendar when another one comes around. If it’s been three weeks since the last, it’ll probably be another three weeks until the next. That’s how it works. Nobody knows why, it’s just standard.
There are two very important reasons you need to know this:
First of all, you don’t want to show up wearing white on Communion Sunday. You will spill grape juice on yourself and have to do the walk of shame to the bathroom during service. It’s inevitable. The old people will shake their heads and sigh at you, your spouse will probably have a mini-panic-attack, and your friends will point and laugh. So you should know in advance–this way you can wear navy. Or black. Yeah, just wear black.
Secondly, armed with the knowledge of Communion Sunday’s coming up, you can choose your seating wisely. You’re not going to want to be that person stuck at the end of the row. Because you know what happens to end of the row-ers: they get the Communion cups.
Specifically, they receive a three foot high stack of cups that is ever-so-gently passed as you attempt to balance it with the skill of Houdini. It’s like an awkwardly designed Olympic torch.
Maybe no one is looking at me, you think to yourself. But, no, everyone is looking at you. Everyone is watching to see if you can handle the pressure: You are the bearer of the empty Communion cups. You have been chosen. Against your will, but chosen nevertheless. And if you drop those cups, the disappointment of God’s heavenly host will be upon you.
At least… it feels that way.
But if you know ahead of time if it’s communion Sunday, you can get ready. Especially if you’re visiting a church with a new friend. What if they do it differently? What if they don’t have cups but, instead, just have one glass and invite your whole aisle up? What if you’re the person who mistakenly grabs the cup and takes a drink while everyone else dips into the cup instead. If you’ve never done that before, how were you supposed to know this was a dip not drink situation? Because no one ever says, everyone just assumes you know. They never announce, “We’re going to partake in communion today. Please remember this is a dip moment, not a share your cough with the congregation moment.” You can’t say that from the pulpit. So no one does. And then you grab the cup and enter the annals of church infamy.
Lot of pressure, whole lot of pressure. And if you try to talk about it, someone is bound to Jesus Juke you, “You know what pressure I feel? The hand of God on my shoulder. That’s what I’m thinking about, not dip or drink you sweaty Philistine.”
At least don’t wear white. Regardless of the communion style of your church, that’s something we can all agree on.
How does your church do communion?
(For more great writing from Katie, check out her blog ActuallyKatie.)