Noshing on Jesus
Last June I mistakenly ate the body of Christ. I'm not Catholic, but I was a bridesmaid in a Catholic wedding. This was not the first time I found myself in this awkward situation, and previously had avoided the Host through all manner of awkward standing up and sitting down and looking around in a forlorn way, clutching my little bouquet in sweaty palms. Every church seems to have a different setup, so I can never quite figure out how to stay out of everyone's way during the communion ritual. I've always been the only non-Catholic bridesmaid, or at least the only one to admit it.
I've known people, Catholics and nons- alike, who take the Host without particularly knowing or caring what it is supposed to mean. This is horrifying to me, a woman who will shamelessly write "Noshing on Jesus" as a post title. But blogging is one thing. Standing in someone's sacred house and blithely chewing away on what they believe to be the transubstantiated body of their Lord is another.
This time, however, the bridal party was ill-rehearsed and I was at the end of the line. I had to follow suit and sit and stand when everyone else did, even if I thought we weren't supposed to be sitting or standing. I also did not have the best view of what was going on. Given my previous experiences, I thought those who wanted communion would have to file out in a neat little line and loop back around, while I did the requisite awkward clutching and gazing.
I did not expect pew to pew wafer service, but that's what I got. Just another little perk of being a bridesmaid
, this time from someone's Great-Aunt. She was so cute and doddering and so surprised when she got down the line to me and I didn't have my hands outstretched and cupped for her. We shared a startled staring into each other's eyes, and I realized that I was trapped. I thrust out my palms, and she placed the small round cracker gently in my hands.
I considered my options.
Eat the wafer. The easiest and quickest way out of the situation, but also, in my eyes, disrespectful. And creepy, since even though I didn't believe that what I was holding was holy, the fact that it was holy to all those other people made me feel like I would be stealing something precious.
Hide the wafer. My options were: the cushion on the pew, the hymnal rack, my sweaty bouquet, or my cleavage. See last sentence of the option above. Plus, what would I do with the wafer later? Drop it in the garbage or worse, flush it? Giving it a respectful burial would require consecrated ground and besides, I didn't think I could get back to check on it three days later.
So I ate it. It felt weird and sacrilegious but it was over quickly. Later that night I sprained my ankle
so badly that it needed physical therapy. I'm hoping this was just a coincidence, and that Jesus had been in enough uncomfortable situations to understand.