For two mornings I have been disgruntled with my younger children.
Picked at faults, pointed out shortcomings. Ranted about the fact that—though I have made a bulletin board with pictures that “tell” them all they need to accomplish in the mornings before we get in the car (so even my beginning reader can understand)—we have experienced the “we’re going to be late” scrambling rush two days in a row.
After driving to school the second morning, I came home and sat in my sin for a bit. I tried to shut down the excuses and even the premature/slightly false confession and asked the Holy Spirit to help me simply listen.
Then, more painful, I saw what these sins are doing to my kids: in bearing down on my children with a harsh spirit, I am crushing them; I am cutting off communication with them; I am modeling for them the very things I tell them they shouldn’t do to each other (pointing out faults, not allowing for differences, assuming that everyone should regard their time/likes/dislikes as most important, being inflexible, losing their sense of humor and grace.)
I was all set to wallow in this (oh, how often I forget the second part of repentance: to turn TO God) when I remembered a conversation I had earlier this fall with my mother-in-law. She shared that one Sunday morning a few weeks before, she’d been disgruntled. She’d snapped at her husband and said harsh words to her granddaughter (who was staying with them at the time). Though she then apologized, she’d gone to church still bruised with guilt. Once there she remembered she was supposed to serve communion. She leaned over to her husband and whispered, “I don’t think I should serve communion this morning.”
When she told me this story, she paused at this point. Then she said, “A few minutes later, Dad passed me a note. He’d written Romans 8:1 out for me to read. “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
“I served communion,” she told me.
She served it—and took it—in the exact mindset in which we should always participate in communion: authentic gratitude.
The Holy Spirit brought this conversation to mind because I, too, was being invited into communion. In my state of guilt and hopelessness, my eyes were drawn to Christ, to His broken body and spilt blood that accomplished for me what I have no possibility of accomplishing for myself. I was invited, once again, to move from death to life, to receive grace.
Suddenly, I longed to have my children home from school. I looked forward to the moment when I could pull them close and say, “I’m sorry, truly sorry.”
From death to life, once again.
The blessing of communion.