I’m leaving next week to head back to Tennessee for the first time in nearly 4 years. I’ll only be there for 2 days and a big part of my trip will be spent seeing family whom I love and who love me but who have hurt me and gifted me with trauma I’m still working through today. I was born in Tennessee and I will be celebrating the 30th birthday in my home town, with all it’s joy, with all its’ sorrow.
To say I will be seeing my family is mostly accurate. It would be more accurate to say I will be seeing my families because there are actually two of them since mom and dad divorced, and depending on who is not speaking to who there could be as many as four families. I am anxious. As a Enneagram 9 my base fear is disconnection and one of my key areas of growth is around merging, specifically merging with the thoughts, emotions, perceived or real, of those around me. I’ve learned since leaving Tennessee that my family only knows merging or disconnection so I find I am caught between choosing to merge with them or disconnect from them, and though I know there is a third options I know that a third option will look like disconnection to my family. So, catch 22.
In the anxious lead up I find a deep sense of peace. I’ve been hearing the words of Jesus, “Do this in remembrance of Me.” As I’ve sat with it, it has started to open up and speak.
I love communion, more than many, less than most. I love what it can invite us into and loath how it is often practiced. Doing something in remembrance sounds an awful lot like a mental exercise mean to empty us of all things, good and bad, except for Jesus. Remembering means to think and to think only of Christ, but this has always frustrated me because when have we ever known Jesus to have a meal by himself? Rather, when we see Christ at the table throughout the gospels it is with people and most often the people who are less than people by many estimations. Christ communions with sinners but we’ve been taught to communion only once we’ve emptied the house of such filth. As one pastor recently said, “You better get right before you come to the table.”
Anyway, back to where I started. As I prepare to see family members who I haven’t seen in a while I feel they will Dis-Member me and then I’m reminded of the words of Jesus, “Do this in Re-Memerance of Me.”
When we remember Christ, whether in at the table or not, we are Re-Membered, put back together, brought together in Him. In Christ we are strangely Re-membered. We are re-membered within ourselves, we are re-membered in our families and re-membered in our communities. In all our brokenness we are put back together when we communion with Jesus and therefore the community of faith, the Church.
I hear the words of Paul in Colossians, “Through him all things hold together.”
It is Christ who holds all things together and, ironically, it is through His dismemberment that all things are re-membered. Even when we become dis-membered it is Christ who brings us back together.