Photo credits

The Embalse de Riano in northern Spain. The picture was taken by .... me!

Tuesday, May 15

Taking Communion from your enemy - The tough walk of reconciliation

I forgot to mention in my previous post ...

When the time came for communion, I noticed that one of those administering would be the man at the focus of our row with this church in 2010 - the man who's callous disregard for my wife was the cause of it all.  We have spoken to and made friends with every one involved except for him.  He was the main reason I was reluctant to return.  He is the one of whom I felt that if I was in the same room, even after all this time, I would still have an urge to punch - repeatedly - in the face and take pleasure in his pain and in his blood.  I am not speaking metaphorically - that is how I genuinely feel.

Yes, this is me, a nice loving Christian man, talking like this.  But he was the man who destroyed my wife, and I am very protective of her.  I didn't undertsand hatred until he did those things.

And now that man is lining up at the front taking communion, and since we have three stations at our church tere is a one in three chance that I will end up at that station.  And my wife too.

Panic!  How can I take communion from him?

And yet there is another voice in me - the quiet voice of the trained lay minister, the man who has been a Christian since he gave his life to the Lord 42 years ago, the voice of experience of the walk with God.  And that voice said "This is from God.  You will never go to him unless forced.  Leave it to God.  If it is his will for you too meet, he will com to your station.  If you're not ready yet, he'll go to another station".

He came to my station.

I pointed out to my wife what was about to happen.  She started to panic a bit too, and she is normally ahead of me when it comes to forgiving the people at this church for what they did to her.  But I took her elbow and said 'This is from God' and escorted her up there.

We waited in the line.

He came to us.  He took the bread in his hand, looked into our eyes, and gave it to us in turn saying "Simon, the body of Christ" "[Wife's name], the body of Christ".

And there was a deep sense - not an emotional thing, it was much deeper than a mere emotion - a deep sense that the thing that had been passed between us was much more important than the other thing which had passed between us.  It was an evaporation.  It was a passing of yesterdays weather.  It was a sun shining, which had always been shining.  None of these metapors really carry it.

And let's be honest, I still have serious issues with the guy.  But I know now that it will be OK.

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