I have to confess that I am not a regular church goer. It’s kind of like following my diet. I think about it a lot, but I have a hard time sticking to it. On a recent trip, I attended my sister-in-law’s church to watch my niece’s 6th grade class recite a Bible verse and to support a fundraiser for the church’s youth work camp.
I always have a little anxiety about attending a church I’ve never visited. Like the time I thought I was going to hell after sitting on a stack of Bibles during a midnight mass in college. Turns out it was just a stack of Hymnals. Who knew? And the time I forgot to do the Isis arm cross at a catholic mass and I accidentally took communion. There is also that secret fear lightening will strike as revenge for all my sins or as the result of just pure shock that I am actually in attendance.
Luckily, all my anxiety subsided soon after we walked in the doors of the church.
The chapel was cheery, the choir was joyfully singing and my niece recited her Bible verse without a hitch. The pastor gave a witty, inspirational sermon entitled, “The Promise of Fruit” and the organist was playing Mozart as communion began. Now, how could this make anyone feel anxious?
The congregation peacefully passed around the eucharist and grape juice from row to row. As usual, I was nervous to take communion at a church of which I wasn’t a member, but my sister-in-law assured me everyone was welcome. It even said so in the church bulletin.
The shiny silver plate finally made its way down our pew only to be filled with crumbs as it reached us.
What?! They ran out of bread?!
To quote Dana Carvey’s church lady character on Saturday Night Live, “Now, isn’t that special?”
The people around us were in amazement whispering, “this has never happened before!”
Was it a sign from the heavens that God was trimming our vine or just poor planning from the Wonder Bread man? Or, was it a sign from the Weight Watcher’s God, “Don’t eat it. It’s not whole grain!” Maybe it was penance for my protein Eucharist bar joke on Ash Wednesday? Only the big guy knows.
Just as I began to look for lightning, a new shiny silver plate came our way full of bread. I took my piece, threw back my “wine” and thought twice about my church attendance record.
Later that day, we all went to the fundraiser for the youth work camp. My sister-in-law helped prepare the meal of smoked stuffed pork loin, green beans, roasted potatoes and of course, angel food cake with strawberries. Who could refuse a home cooked meal for a good cause? My husband, that’s who.
It was also my sister-in-law’s 18th wedding anniversary that day. Legend has it that everyone who ate at her wedding reception got food poisoning. Since that fateful day, my husband has refused to eat food at any catered event. Not me. It would take an act of God to get in the way of this Hoosier girl and a good pork loin.
Did I say act of God? It seems the sewers at the church backed up during the meal preparation. Even though the food was in no way affected, this news reinforced my husband’s fears of catered affairs as he passed on all the tasty offerings.
It is ironic that the traditional wedding gift for 18 years is porcelain. I’m sure my sister-in-law would have rather been gifted some beautiful porcelain dishes as opposed to the sewer backing up in the church kitchen while preparing a meal for 500. Despite the food poisoning at her wedding reception and the sewer incident on their anniversary, the bride and groom are still going strong.
The meal was delicious, and the company was even better. I’m happy to report that no one prayed to the porcelain God this time.
However, when we got home, my husband was starved and prayed to the left-over pizza God. The rest of us were full.