This is part of the Not About Me November series. Check out the rest of the series here.
It’s Sunday and I am preparing to take Communion at our church here in Hungary. The entire service is in Hungarian and some weeks are better than others as far as what we understand of song and sermon and prayer. But, each week we meet with God and in some ways, I have never felt His Presence more fully than in this church where I understand the words most poorly.
The parade of churches throughout my life passes through my mind as the Nicene Creed is read. And I am closer to the cost of this confession that is now spoken in another tongue. It’s a sacred beauty of which I am an itsy bitsy part as I cling hard to God in this missionary calling.
I am reminded too of all of the places and forms in which I have partaken of this sacrament. When I start taking communion after I am baptized at eight, it is with shiny silver plates and small plastic cups in matching silver holders that hold broken crackers and grape juice. This experience is consistent through college in a different church yet similar form and ritual.
Then, as I begin to travel the experience changes, grows. I celebrate with the summer as an urban youth worker. Then, I study abroad in Spain and have wine and fresh bread. In between there are varied languages and manner. I kneel at altars, go up to receive at the front of the church, remain in my padded folding chair or pew and now, stand in a circle at the front of the church with others.
The grape juice turns to watered wine through my European experience. Sometimes the bread is a wafer and also, my favorite, a delectable homemade buttery square. Today, it’s fresh bread broken from large loaf purchased at a local bakery and there is yeast that has worked through the dough.
It all comes together for me this communion Sunday, the second Sunday, each month here in Gazdagret, the name of the community in Budapest where we live and our son goes to Hungarian school and we all go to church. I am stilled by the sacred hush and in wonder before the Holy Spirit as I bask in such a gift to have experienced so much of the broken body and blood of Christ.
At times I look at my story as a type of wilderness wandering as I run toward calling and too, it chases me hard in my comfort. But when I think about my life as one in which I have partaken of communion. How it is all through faith in Jesus Christ, Only Son of the Father, born of a virgin, who lived, died and rose again and in so doing sheds His Spirit abroad in the hearts of all who confess him. I hear the echoes through the ages and the tongues and it all feels a lot like the promise of Heaven.
I am then, strengthened, this morning in Budapest as the bread is handed to me and the body of Christ broken for me is spoken over and into me in a beautifully complex language that humbles me and comes to make a home in a heart that is bowed low in worship. I am inspired to live a life overflowing with thankfulness as the blood represented by the wine flows through me and I hear the chorus of the saints who stand before the Lamb Slain gathered ‘round as this glorious cloud of witnesses. My roots deepen in this faith that bears a legacy of saints who walk through time as prophets, martyrs, pioneer missionaries and a whole lot of day in and day out faithful that binds us all together throughout history to lift up a Jesus who wants to draw this whole world to Himself.
I am wife to a wonderful man, mama to three precious now-little-but-soon-will-not-be loves. Each born in a different place--two states including 2 states and 2 countries. I am a farm girl who found her heart in the city. I can now claim fluency in 3 languages :: English, Spanish & Hungarian.This combined with the all-too-true 'mommy brain' explains much regarding my mental state most days;) I am a sojourner longing for Home. Yet, in my messy and broken, I embrace the moments given with all I have. I am seeking, praying, and learning again and again that it is for His Glory I live. My prayer is that my little life would make much of Him! I write regularly at Abigail Alleman.
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