I realise this might be a bit heretical, however, I need to say it. There is a time and a place for chocolate. Chocolate shakes go well with cheeseburgers, chocolate ice cream is delicious with fries. It does not work well to put it with the meat and cheese and tomatoes on a bun. I thought about this one Sunday during communion.
I had a piece of mint gum in my mouth. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has been in this position in church. I don’t often chew whole pieces of gum, so this tiny bit was barely in the way. I didn’t want to tear off a bit of the bulletin to wrap it in because I didn’t have a place to put the tiny wad. Holding it in my fingers all sticky and gooey was a nasty thought, as well. I decided I could leave it in my mouth and take communion, too. The small square representing His body and the sip representing His blood would take a second to swallow. I could balance the three on my nonexistent tonsils.
The plate passed by and I confidently took the elements, positioned my gum, and ignored the whole communion process as I jockeyed them in my mouth. I can’t stand grape juice. I often hold my breath when the flavor slides across my tongue. The mint gum made it much worse. Dry crumbs absorbing the juices made a horrible flavor. I had blown my time of communion in trying to cut corners. I had put chocolate ice cream on my cheeseburger. I sat there quietly choking, rolling my eyes at myself. I should have gotten rid of the potential problem and focused on what I was supposed to be doing.
When Jesus was in the garden during His last hours, John records a confrontation in chapter 18 of his gospel. In the darkness, Jesus was with most of his disciples praying. He was approached 3 times by an armed group and Judas. Simon Peter, in his zeal, cut off the ear of one in the group. Jesus, asked the soldiers and leaders to let his own people go, healed the servant’s ear, and allowed Himself to be arrested. He stayed focused. He was the calm in the eye of the storm about to engulf his followers. Of course, He didn’t like what was going to happen, He was human and His body was going to be destroyed. Yet, He didn’t get mad at Judas. He didn’t run and hide. He was cross with Simon Peter, one of His best friends. “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?” He didn’t balance the elements of the situation, He took them one at a time. His chocolate shake was in a cup and the cheeseburger on a plate, where they belonged.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit*,