Thursday, March 31, 2011

Easter Lily

There I was one Sunday morning, sitting in the local Episcopal pews, not at all sure why I was there, against my husband’s wishes who had said, "There might be fewer divorces if more people stayed in bed on Sunday mornings.”

I had never understood very much about "the Trinity" or the cross or praying to Jesus, and as I read through the Order of Worship for this service in which I was somehow participating, I surmised this was Communion Sunday. Expletive deleted! Communion was among the foremost of religious ceremonies I did not understand. Thus came my Turmoil About Communion. After considerable angst and consternation, I said a simple prayer that went something like this: “Please show me this is real, Lord. I do not want to be a pretender!”

Having said this little prayer, I decided to partake. Then the strangest thing happened as I took communion. For the first time in my entire church upbringing, I experienced communion. In a deeply profound way, I experienced a sense of being with. By taking the wafer and the wine, I realized, I had literally taken God in --internalized Him. It made me cry. It affected my heart.

As the week progressed, I felt as though I was walking down a spiritual road, literally shedding my opinions like rags at various points along the way. By Friday, I felt as though I was, myself, hanging on that cross. My self-righteousness had been crucified. And by Saturday, a new person had arisen within me, who understood, for the first time, the meaning of the word "resurrection."

I saw some Easter lilies in the market yesterday and thought how much they look like trumpets. Suddenly I understood. I understood that I am one of those -- an Easter lily. I am a trumpet -- an instrument of God.

That is how the Lord made me to see that I am His instrument – that is how He came to be my salvation, my strength, my song. Which I have been singing ever since!


  1. Barrry's line is the best ever.
    On a more solemn note, all those years of taking communion I never once genuinely felt anything. I tried, I prayed, but it never happened. Now you couldn't get me to do for money...but then, you know how I feel about organized religion!

  2. I heard this when I first "took communion" as a kid and I still say it today. The difference I understand.

    "Come to this table, not because you must, but because you may; not because you are strong, but because you are weak; not because you have any claim on heaven's rewards, but because in our frailty and sin we stand in constant need of heaven's mercy and help; come, not to express an opinion, but to seek God's presence and to pray for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit."

    and most important of all...Jesus said, "do this in remembrance of me." Luke 22:19

    Beautiful piece, Whitney; honest and moving.

  3. This was lovely and very moving. I'm so glad God touched you.
    I admit that I feel much like hsnoyl though -I was brought up in the Anglican church and even after my conversion at 19 at university would often pray for understanding about the Lord's Supper - never felt anything like what you describe - I read the mystics too and still never got in touch with what they described when writing about it. The group we were involved with for 16 years here gradually lost sight of the Lord's Supper more or less altogether - it was only held on big occasions, which I always felt was neglecting something vital - but I felt that it was only being neglected because people hadn't understood what they were doing.
    When we went out of organised religion we began to have a meal in our homes with friends who wanted to meet with us and since then we've seen the Lord's Supper as the meal itself - with bread and wine/grape juice - usually anyway - integrated into the meal. Teaching, prayer, sharing, Bible reading all happen in the context of the meal. I can't say that I've ever felt what you've felt during these times, but I have known the Presence of the Lord and His love there, healing people of wounds and drawing them close to Himself.

  4. We too have left "organized religion" because Lord wants to lead, and what He wants to lead me in is an intimate, rigorously honest relationship with Him. I think what he foreshadowed when I was still captive in the manmade contraption we called "church" is His desire to flow in and through us that he may bear fruit anyway He wants. I need to get out of the way -- every day. I need to decrease in order that He may increase. Translation: these days I don't go to some ceremony to celebrate communion. Every breakfast, lunch, and dinner is my opportunity to remember His death and resurrection -- and better yet, every day I can say, "Here I am, Lord -- live in me" to which He replies, "I AM." Thanks for these excellent comments, guys. I really believe He wants us out of the ceremony and in His Arms, listening to His heartbeat and gathering with others who do the same. He did not come to found a religion. He offers us Life in Him -- in His True Body -- where it's safe, joyous and free. Eternally and forever, starting now, thank You, Lord!

  5. Maybe you could find me on Facebook so we could connect better and more often! xxoo, wmm

  6. Whitney, I don't think that this is in BS-Busters, but I remember you sharing this somewhere. Anyway, as you can see, I am now one of your "followers".

  7. Hurray and yay -- my friend Joanne! I am so glad you found your way to actually following my blog, and I hope you will speak up because I'm really trying to encourage the practice of "take what you like and leave the rest" in this blog of mine. There's even someone I don't know talking with us in this particular column -- really exciting for me, who has, until recently, been somewhat reticent about being who I really am. So far, every blog has triggered comments, but this one is the first time it has felt like an actual discussion. Really gratifying. Makes me want to do more.

  8. Dear Whitney,

    I have just left Facebook for the following reasons! Otherwise I would have loved to!

  9. Aha Frances -- it's YOU! I just didn't realize who was behind "What's in a Name" until now. Delightful to have you commenting away -- makes me feel like we're actually blogging. P.S. The next book I download to my Kindle will be yours but m still reading Bonhoeffer biography which is taking me forever -- it's excellent but 800 pages, and I do nothing quickly!