Growing up, my family went to church pretty regularly. Since my mother was an organist, it was pretty much a required call of duty. Not to be left out of the fun, my Dad was instructed to participate in church activities. He served on various committees, handed out bulletins, greeted new members…And once a month, he’d help our pastor with Holy Communion.
My dad was a pretty quiet, reserved individual…and socially awkward. After the initial “Hello” he’d struggle to carry on a conversation. One thing he was good at was holding a grudge if he didn’t like you.
On Communion Sundays, as we called it, Dad would wear one of those Pastor-y type robes and stand at the front of the church. A Pastoral wingman if you will. He was entrusted with administering the body of Christ to congregants. I know a lot of churches hand out those Styrofoam wafers. My church used a big loaf of bread…
Anyway, after blessing the bread and wine, the grand event would start. One by one, rows of pews were instructed to rise and walk to the front of the sanctuary. After everyone knelt, the cavalcade of communion goodies made its way down the line of recipients.
Our Pastor was always hands free so he could bless the children and whisper whatever it was he whispered to worshippers…My dad would then break off a piece of bread and place it into the mouth of the communal participant. Another person carrying the tray of wine would follow.
It was during this ritual that the random person who at one time in the prior month pissed off my Dad, was unveiled. He’d never confront them outright…You know, talk it out, resolve differences, “agree to disagree”… He’d just break off an extra hearty portion of the Body of Christ. Like golf ball big. Then he’d place the wad into the unlucky recipient’s mouth. The tiny cup of wine that followed didn’t have a chance in hell washing it down. It was a chewy dough ball.
Before the person had a chance to realize what had just happened, the row was dismissed and was instructed to return to their seat. Dad would stand up front, straight faced, amused as he watched the person stand and walk away while chewing…likely needing to pick their teeth.
And how do I know he did all this intentionally? He told me. Said he loved seeing the surprised expression on the person as they held their mouth open. The confused look of “What the hell just happened?” as they struggled to chew quickly.
He swore me to secrecy knowing he’d catch all kinds of hell from my mom. So I’ll just share his secret with you….
I know I'm going to hell...