I approach the communion rail, bow my head and begin to pray. It is a normal Sunday, just like any other, and I’m thinking of what I will eat for lunch. Then my mind begins to reflect on what I am asking for, I stretch out my hand and pull them away from the rail trying to hide them in fear. I can’t let anyone see them, they are scared, they are wounded dried blood rests under the finger nails. I slowly glance and peak at them again, these are not my hands, they are not the fingers I am used to but I recognize them. I recognize the wounds in them. The scars are scars I have seen, scars I have caused, the gaping holes are holes that I caused. I begin to weep, and I look up. I see others, people I have come alongside and prayed with, and I see them in a new light. They have similar holes, not just in theirs but in their feet, in their sides, on their faces. I want to run, this is not what church is about. We cannot kneel next to each other and “claim” our right in heaven with such wounds. I am disgraced, I am ashamed, I keep my hands hidden I bow my head and I begin to weep. Not tears of joy, but tears of pain. I look at my hands once more and the wounds have ripped open, the blood is no longer dry old blood but it is fresh. It is the blood of others; the homeless person I refused to look at, even when Ash said let’s give him a banana, the blood of my wife whom I have begun to ignore. It is blood that I don’t want others to see, it is blood that scares and ashamed me. It is blood that makes me weep even deeper.
I begin to hear those fateful words, those words that in this moment seem even worse. “This is Christ’s body broken for you.” No, no, don’t let Jesus die for this, not for my sin, “please no” I sob, “I am not worthy!” The priest, is getting closer and I dare a glance. Through tear filled eyes, I do not see a priest, I do not see the man who offers me bread each week, but I see Jesus! It is Jesus who is tearing at his hands and sides, filling people’s gaping wounds with his own flesh. It is Jesus that is healing their sin.
He is coming closer now, I can hear his heart felt words “This is my body broken for you.” I want to run, to flee, I don’t deserve this. I don’t deserve to be healed. MY sin is MINE and I am not worthy. He is over me now, but I refuse to look, I can feel the light radiating off him. I shockingly offer him my hands, crossing myself in the process dragging blood over my skin.
“This is my body broken for you,” Those words, those fateful words I did not want to hear offered me healing in a way I had not expected. I feel Christ’s flesh intertwine with mine, knitting together my wounds. I feel those broken hands heal mine own, I feel his holy hands restore wholeness to my broken flesh. I feel his touch and I burn, I burn with hope afresh. I feel safe, I feel warm, I feel like I am where I should be, and I don’t want to move. I never want that moment to end, I want to stay with Christ forever feeling his touch over wholeness to my broken skin.
Soon he has moved on, as quickly as it had begun it was over. But now I felt whole once more, I felt full of something that was not there before. I have hope where once I had been full of fear. I stand slowly, not sure if my body can truly stand on its own. My head bowed I return to my seat, I kneel once more, but this time I do not weep but sing. I sing for Christ has healed my sin and I know that I am called by name. I know that I am called by name and I am his.