By Esther Hizsa
“I’ve told you these things for a purpose: that my joy might be your joy, and your joy wholly mature. This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you.” John 15:11 (The Message)
The seven-year-old downed his third tiny glass of grape juice and licked the last drop from the bottom, oblivious of the perfect purple ring around his lips. Perhaps it was his eager grin as he went for the fourth glass that prompted three women to spring into action. The older woman, horrified with what the boy was doing, let out a mild shriek and reached out to stop him as his mother stepped between innocence and offence. She knelt down and spoke kindly to her son. Meanwhile, the third woman, who saw the incident unfold, turned her attention to her elder and moved into her line of sight.
“Millie,” she said, smiling. “It’s okay. It’s o-kay. I know how you feel. The communion elements are sacred, but to him, they are just little glasses of grape juice.”
Within minutes Millie was calm again, the mother relieved, the boy unaware a crime had been committed, and my friend, who interceded, was satisfied.
When she told me what happened, I could easily imagine it all taking place–especially since the boy was my grandson, Hadrian, and his mother, my daughter, Heidi.
As I thought about the incident, I saw how each player reflected God’s character. I loved my grandson’s delight in finding wonderful gifts laid out for him. Like a mother hen with her chicks, my daughter protected her son from wrath and, like Jesus, she got down on his level to enlarge his understanding. The older woman was passionate to preserve the sacredness of the Lord’s Supper, which had been given at great cost. Meanwhile, the peacemaker saw the pure intentions in all three hearts and, like the Spirit, brought reconciliation to her community.
At first, what stood out for me in this story was the way Heidi was with Hadrian. I love how God comes between me and the critical voices and protects my child-like desire to savor every drop of life.
But later, I saw myself in Millie. It’s humbling to think that God has had to intervene between me and the recipients of my criticism. Yet, I also see God smiling at me the way my friend smiled at Millie, inviting me to be gentle with myself.
As you envision this story with God, I wonder what you see.
Beautiful story. My cousin Mary at age 19 took me to Christmas Eve Mass. This was at an Episcopal Church in the states…think Anglican. I was not confirmed in the church so could not take Holy Communion. It has changed since.My cousin went up without me, but had been going to a church that did not serve wine, only grape juice. Being a teenager, she took a big swig of that “grape juice”. The church had terrible acoustics,and she coughed loudly all the way to our pew. I have always taken little sips and always remember that one Christmas Eve with my lovely cousin.
Thank you for sharing! What a narrative of reconciliation, when we’re able to see people who are seemingly at odds with one another as all members of Christ’s body. May your story help us all cultivate such eyes to see.