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Champagne from the Bottle

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“Well, folks…the cup I left on the table flew away, so do you still want to have the champagne…um….from the bottle?”

No, that was not a line from some classy college cocktail party gone wrong. The line was straight from my lips, and it was spoken during the Communion service at my cousin’s outdoor wedding last weekend.

The wedding officiant, a Protestant pastor and friend of mine, asked me to help facilitate the intimate ritual during the ceremony. When the marrying couple, the pastor, the two Best Men, and I, the Maid of Honor, circled around the small Communion table in front of 200 guests, I immediately noticed that the empty plastic cup I had placed there before the wedding was no where to be found. The mountain breeze must have carried it away during the vows!

We passed the grainy loaf around while the pastor read scripture, and I said, “This is Christ’s body, broken for you.” As we chewed my eyes darted around inconspicuously searching for the cup. “WHY did I pick a clear cup!” I wondered silently to myself.When our jaws stopped chomping and everyone’s eyes turned to the uncorked bottle of champagne we had grabbed before the ceremony (someone forgot the intended Communion wine), I divulged our Communion predicament. “Yep, lets just drink it from the bottle,” my cousin said, her new husband nodding and smiling in agreement. How it must have looked from the audience, watching the bride lift the big green bottle of Champagne to her mouth amid this quiet, intimate moment of the ceremony! People laughed as we passed it from person to person. With each swig, I reverently proclaimed, “Tad, this is the blood of Christ, poured out for you…Sy, this is the blood of Christ, poured out for you…” Finally, I took my swig of the bottle, returned it to the table, and smiled.

Earlier in the ceremony the pastor had preached on John 15:13, where Jesus says, “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his/her life for a friend.” The pastor said that this is the kind of incredible, unselfish love exemplified in marriage. Jesus reasserted this same extravagant love on the night of the Last Supper, saying, “This is my body given for you.” Amazing, generous, lavish love is what we celebrate in marriage, and what we celebrate in Communion. So, as I stood there smiling at my beautiful cousin and her wonderful new husband, all I could think about was how fitting this Communion ceremony was. This was no sterile cup and stale wafer ritual. No. This was fresh bread and champagne from the bottle, an extravagant, lavish Communion fit to reflect the love of Christ, and their new wedded life of love together.

1 Comment

  1. Don says:

    Jess, what a beautiful vision you've captured. Your prose vividly paints an incredibly precious moment of communion like none other, now indelibly etched in our minds. Thank you for helping us to once again celebrate as witnesses the very presence of Christ in the midst of Tad and Megan's wedding day. don

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