Grape Juice Theology.

April 8, 2012

Here in Paraguay, communion cups are filled with a grape juice that is mixed from powder packets. It tastes like Dimatap Death with capital D’s.

I was one of those children who learned how to swallow pills at quite the early age because all liquid medicine was rat poison to my taste buds. Anything Dimatap-flavored still conjures up traumatic memories and gag reflexes. (Don’t even get me started on Robitussin…)

Even though I am no longer a child and I have learned to better tolerate certain previously shunned flavors, artificial grape is unfortunately not among those acquired tastes. So despite my best intentions, tossing back that tiny cup is a painful experience every first Sunday of the month (and other special holidays included). Let us not even speak of the losing battle that is trying to keep the facial expressions of horror to a minimum.

Naturally, as I lamented the absence of Welch’s in this country, I was duly smacked by conviction as the projector screen above me filled with a dramatization of Jesus’ death. The sight of deep, bloody gashes made my skin tingle. Watching Him collapse on the ground at the blows of mockers pierced my heart as I ashamedly grappled with my poor attitude among the multitude of shortcomings I had proven in the last week alone.

He was betrayed and brutally beaten and endured a long, excruciating death for my sake. And I’m whining about grape juice? Oh, depravity.

For someone who has been partaking in communion since they were 13 years old, this is the first true time it has been anything resembling uncomfortable. As terrible as that is to admit out loud, I am thankful and so utterly humbled by the reminder of how serious the Lord’s supper.

The cup is taken in remembrance of Him, of the blood so sacrificially spilt. That I would not be forsaken. That I would be forgiven. That I could bask in grace, mercy, love, and second chances into the how-many-digits.

May I never take lightly what He endured.

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