A few weeks ago after church, I watched my 2-year-old son walk up to the communion table, grab a piece of bread, dip it in the grape juice, and pop it in his mouth. I literally just watched it. Something inside of me jumped for a slight moment: Oh no, he’s not ready for that yet—ah, never mind.
I couldn’t help but laugh (as did another person from the corner of the sanctuary who witnessed the event). All Beckett knew was that everyone else was doing it and that it carried some kind of importance or significance. (Or I don’t know, maybe he was just hungry—that’s not too uncommon.)
Our church hasn’t been a huge stickler about the appropriateness of communion. Being an urban church, we find ourselves bringing in a varied crowd. A group of young kids would come on and off, and when communion was offered, they’d jump right up front to take it. It seemed somewhat evident that they probably didn’t understand what it was they were doing, but everyone else was partaking so… peer pressure.
I remember the topic coming up in a board meeting once. “Hey, there have been some kids taking communion lately. Should we be concerned about that?” The whole conversation took about 5 minutes to get through. “Ah, that’s to be expected. Let’s try to help them understand it better, but not stop it from happening. Next topic?”
Some of these community kids would steal our Wii from time to time. It was kind of funny to watch after awhile. You’d see them eyeballin’ the room it was in and try to sneakily grab it and run out the door with it (of which they succeeded in doing at least twice). It’s another profane gesture in a sacred place. Our youth pastor was full of grace though. He’d find a way to retrieve it every time and invite them back.
Invitation became a common theme with these kids—mostly because we would have to ask them to leave from time to time while inviting them back at the same time. “Sorry guys, but you need to listen and follow the rules. We’ll see you next week though, okay?” And sure enough, they’d often reappear the next week.
I recall a dream that Robby Dawkins mentioned having in the movie, Furious Love.
I saw the Lord show me this picture of this church filled with drug addicts, with prostitutes, with drug dealers, with gang bangers, with people from all different forms of crime life. And they were in this church and they were doing everything wrong! They were having sex in the pews, they were drinking, they were doing drugs in the pews, they were selling drugs to each other…. Everything they were doing was wrong… And I was trying to stop all that. And I remember at one point I hollered out and I said, “If you’re not gonna honor God’s house and respect His house, then get out!” Exactly what probably the majority of pastors or leaders would say. And I remember the Lord speaking back to me so clearly and saying, “Why would you send away what I have sent in? Why would you send away what you’ve been asking for?” and I said, “I didn’t ask for this,” and he said, “You asked me for the lost! Now, keep it simple. Love them. And let me change them.”
Perhaps the profane sacredness we see in our church buildings won’t be quite that visible, but when we see it, we should embrace it. It’s a chance to love our neighbor as ourself.
Search for God in those profane moments, and you’ll find Him. After all, while taking on the form of a human, He hung out with prostitutes, tax collectors, the handicapped, races that were shunned by his people, and more. Really, we should expect to find God in those places on a regular basis.