Sunday, May 31, 2009

Intinction, please.

Today, I visited an Anglican church with some family friends in Cape Town. It was Holy Eucharist Sunday. Having grown up in a non-denominational church, I must admit, I have no idea what Holy Eucharist is. After church today, I have an idea it has something to do with the Holy Spirit and communion and wearing red, which I definitely wasn’t. I did my best to fit in though and not behave like “a complete heathen” as mom says. So when communion time came, I dutifully followed everyone up to the front. As I was waiting in line watching the people in front of me, I realized that there was only one cup and there was definitely no dipping! Gross! It was too late to jump out of line without appearing like a complete heathen, so I stayed in line scrambling to think of a polite way of refusing to drink. That’s when I remembered, “Intinction!” As I knelt at the altar and received the bread, I was feeling very proud of myself for remembering the proper theological word for dipping rather than sipping, and kept repeating it over and over in my head to be sure I didn’t forget. “Intinction, intinction, intiction.” Plus it's just a fun word to say (go ahead, you know you want to say it). "Intinction, intinction, intinction," I kept saying to myself. As the priest stepped in front of me with the glass, I opened my mouth with a sort of smug confidence prepared to say, “Intinction, please.” But just as my lips started to form “In…” the priest came at me suddenly with the glass and before I knew it I had a giant gulp of… genuine wine! Now when one is expecting the sweetness of grape juice and is met with a mouthful of bitter red wine, it can be quite a shock. And I must admit I could not hide the look of utter disgust on my face firstly at the grossness of having sipped from the same cup as all the other parishioners which the priest was haphazardly wiping off with a sketchy handkerchief in between sips and secondly on the shock of swallowing a mouthful of red wine. I am sure that if the priest saw the very unholy look on my face in that instant all my hopes of not appearing like a complete heathen were absolutely sunk. I quietly slipped back to my seat watching all the rest of the people in the church filing up to the front sipping from that same glass with only one thought on my mind, and not any of the holy thoughts one should be thinking after communion, but rather, “Thank you, God, I sat in the front.”

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