Last Sunday morning was a tough one for me. I want so much to be able to have good discussions with people in the Slovak language. But, I can’t always say what I want to say, or understand the responses from my sweet friends who try to use the simplest words they know. I had a couple of frustrating conversations early on in the morning. I just wanted to be able to speak and understand with better fluency than was happening that particular morning. I felt like I was working so hard, but there are so many words that I don’t know yet. I just felt overwhelmed. We have been in the country now for seven months now, and we’ve been really working on language for at least five of those. But, some days it is just hard. We are so blessed to be deeply loved and accepted by our local church family, and the worship there is always is wonderful. But some mornings, I still feel like such a foreigner – like such an outsider. And this was one of those mornings.
Then it came time for communion. An act of celebrating community: not just with this community, but with the community of faith all over the world. It was an act that needed no translation for me. It was an act that brought me back to myself – reminded me that I am part of this beautiful community of faith, as well as a part of communities of faith all over the world. And nothing about that makes me feel like a foreigner or an outsider. That very act of taking the bread and the wine reminded me that I am loved, that I belong, and that I am no outsider in the family of God.
The Lord’s Supper has so many symbols, but this symbol of community and of the whole body of Christ struck me this morning. And the song that we sang while we took the elements said (loosely translated) “We have so many reasons, so many reasons to thank you, God.”
And my heart was filled with gratitude in the midst of difficult feelings. I always have a place to belong no matter where I am.