Communion

Communion: (n) the service of Christian worship at which bread and wine are consecrated and shared.

I get the same sensation when I go to Red Lobster with a friend and he or she insists, with a giggle, as the cheddar bay biscuits arrive, and they gleefully take one from the basket, that, “This is what Red Lobster is all about!”

I nod (knowing that soon I will probably nod off.)

Red Lobster is not about the cheddar bay biscuits. It’s about the seafood.

Just like baseball games are not about the peanuts and the Cracker Jacks. There’s a ball, a bat and a game.

And marriage is not about starting a family. It’s really about how much you enjoy having sex with this one person and hope you can keep it up for the rest of your life while you have a family.

I find myself going to church from time to time–reluctantly.

I don’t like that about me. It seems jaded. In this season of agnosticism it smacks of the predictable.

But you see, in church there’s just too much emphasis on the cheddar bay biscuits, the Cracker Jacks and the family.

Many of them center their whole agenda around communion–a symbolistic representation of the blood and body of Jesus Christ, which he gave for the sins of mankind.

It’s disconcerting to me.

First there’s the thought that I am such a piece of shit that God had to kill His own kid to try to make up for my buffoonery.

Then there’s the notion that a dynamic spirit which walked in the flesh among us for thirty-three years only gained significance in the last few hours that he hung, as an alleged criminal, on a cross.

What an insult to all things loving and eternal.

Yet if you lodge an objection, somehow or another you become apostate–which, if you don’t know what that means, is the religious system’s way of telling you that you don’t belong.

The truth of the matter is, I admire the hell out of Jesus.

Long before he bled, he led me into an understanding of how we might begin to see God’s will done on Earth as it is in heaven.

 

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Abundance

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Abundance: (n.) 1. a very large quantity of something. 2. the state of having a copious quantity: vines and figs grew in abundance

Is abundance too much? Or is abundance just enough to satisfy our human need for greed? Or perhaps it an adequacy which we have finally determined is acceptable for our well-being.

I once met a man in a park who was homeless. I don’t particularly like the term “homeless” because I think it connotes irresponsibility, but for lack of a better phrasing, we’ll just say the man had no permanent address for mail delivery.

After a five-minute conversation, in which we talked about everything in the world, including a bit of politics and religion, I asked him if there was anything I could do to help him. He smiled at me and said, “No. I have an abundance.”

I glanced at his shopping cart, which contained all the possessions he had in the world. Noting my countenance of disbelief, he laughed. He said, “You see, the problem with owning things is that’s there’s always something bigger and better of the same thing you have, which chides you until you chase it down. I have abundance because I’ve decided not to yearn anymore.”

I walked away that day interested in his words, but certainly not convinced. After all, I’m an American. I measure my success by gain, not pain. I determine my stature by opening up my computer and looking at a bank account to confirm that I’m not only solvent, but may be able to pick up lunch at Red Lobster tomorrow. I’m not even especially enamored by the words of a poet in a park, who tries to make possessions seem meaningless.

But I do have one variation on the typical American theme of prosperity. I think the greatest joy in abundance is knowing that there is a certain box of goodness and blessing that you can tuck away and save for an opportunity to give to others without trepidation.

Yes, the power of having abundance is to free your mind of the anxiety of need in order to step in and assist others, adding to your own abundance with a warm heart and the tingly sensation that some goodness has been achieved.

A great man once said, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”

I think that’s true. If we would look on our abundance as a means of expressing ourselves instead of proving ourselves, then the amount we have would not taunt our souls with selfishness, but instead, would provide an opportunity to be magnanimous.