Today at church, my son (we’ll call him Sweetlips…reason forthcoming) got flustered. It was crowded. He’s only nine. We got separated because I stayed by the door (my daughter was finishing up at the water fountain), and he didn’t notice. When he returned – seconds later to me, eons to him – he said something unfitting for church. Well, for anywhere, in most ‘Mom books’. Oops.
Today at church, it was Communion. I told Sweetlips that he wouldn’t be partaking because his heart was not ready to receive. In the moments that followed, I realized that I am not the one allowed to stand in judgement…the one perhaps not ready to receive.
My too-cool-for-school nine year old son began to cry. He asked for my forgiveness.
My forgiveness. How wrong I was to be the one to stand in that position. I told Sweetlips that he should ask God that same question. Interesting how sometimes we get exactly what we need at church. The minister talked about coming to the Communion table flawed, seeking grace and mercy. It wasn’t just my son who was finding resonance in those words.
That little boy with the tender heart and lack of self control prayed all through the service. His head down, tears continued to roll quietly. It was only after he said, with my arm around him and my words guiding, “Lord, I am not worthy to receive You. But only say the word, and I shall be healed.” that the tears stopped. My daughter, seven, sweet, seemingly flawless, was watching. She asked if she could join us in Communion – for the first time – and Sweetlips put an arm around her shoulder and guided her to the line. I am not worthy.
On the way home, I asked my children what Communion means to them. We talked about community. About grace. About forgiveness. What we didn’t talk about is gratitude and judgement…that’s a lot for them to grasp right now. But for me, Communion today reminded me that I am so grateful for a community filled with a family that is built on a Rock. It reminded me that I am given more grace and mercy than I deserve, and that while I am called to guide and discipline as a mother, I am not fit to judge.