In Holy the Firm, the brilliant writer Annie Dillard relates her experience when she was asked to pick up the wine for communion. As she bicycles home with the wine in her backpack, she feels that God Almighty is radiating through her, and everything around her glows with new and deeper meaning.
When my husband asked me to pick up the communion supplies for church this morning, I realized that I had never done that before. So, tonight after work, I dutifully made my way to the Wal-Mart juice aisle, along with several other shoppers trying to work their way around an employee restocking the shelves. I had been told that Great Value brand was alright, so I set out to procure this vintage. Unfortunately, I could not see GV grape; however, there was plenty of Cran-Grape. Would the congregation notice if they had Cran-Grape juice? Were grapes holier than cranberries? I decided that they were, since the Bible specifically mentions grapes, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen cranberries in scripture. I did find some Great Value grape juice, but it said “No Sugar Added.” Was that normal for grape juice, or was it diet? People would notice diet grape juice. I checked the Welch’s label for comparison, since Welch’s is the sine qua non of grape juice. It did not contain added sugar, so I plopped the GV juice into my cart, on through the cash register, and out to my PT Cruiser.
It did not glow. It did not radiate. The other drivers on the road were just as annoying as ever.
Now, I do not claim to be as spiritual or mystical as Annie Dillard, but yeah, it was just not the same experience. Perhaps I should have ridden a bicycle.