Yesterday, I had the opportunity to preach at my former congregation St. Peter’s By The Sea in San Diego. Pastor Marohn was kind enough to give up a Sunday to allow me this opportunity. Everybody is very encouraging, they laughed at my jokes and I noticed one person swell up with tears, hopefully not from boredom. I usually only get positive feedback from members of the congregation, so it is hard to gauge just how it went. My most honest critic, my wife, gave me constructive criticism, which I appreciate very much-but sometimes I wish there was one person in the crowd with a notepad, taking notes on my theology and deliverance. I figure at this point, I am still a student and want to continually refine my craft.
During the worship service the deacon of the church asked me if I would help her with communion. I of course agreed and we were off and running. Everything went very well until the end, when it was our turn to take communion. Now let me stop here and rewind to my time in El Salvador.
El Salvador is a pretty “high church” kind of place. I had the opportunity to assist the Bishop with communion. At the end of the service, when we were taking communion, the Pastor next to me told me that I needed to drink all the wine in the chalice. I call it a chalice, but when I found out I had to finish it off, it looked more like a punch bowl. I am only fond of wine in very small amounts, 2 maybe 3 swallows, this chalice was way more than that. So, I took the cup and gulped all the wine down. For those of you who know my tolerance of alcohol, you know it’s not very high and blessing the elements doesn’t take away it’s alcoholic content–it made me a bit woozy and scarred me mentally.
Fast forward to St. Peter’s. During the first service the communion servers and the Pastor communed by taking the bread and dipping it in the wine. During the second service, I expected the same. But in a surprise change up, the deacon took the cup and drank it and handed it to me. All I could think of was El Salvador, the punchbowl, and feeling woozy. But, what was I going to do? So I took the cup and started to drink, it wasn’t very much, but I drank it all–I think I got the cup to 90 degrees, just to make sure I finished it. When I lowered the cup from my face, the Pastor and the deacon were looking at me with this odd look with their heads slightly cocked to the right. I could immediately see on their face that they were not expecting me to drink all the wine. In my thinking about the El Salvador experience, I didn’t take notice that the Pastor had not had her turn. I was mortified, she could see it, and started to slightly giggle. I was so embarrassed, I drank all the wine and ended up looking like a lush…I am not sure that the congregation noticed, but my friends and family did and they have not stopped giving me a hard time. I am expecting red wine bottles for Christmas.
Overall it was a great experience.