Last Sunday we had a different experience at church. It was our first communion at our new Bolivian home church. First we listened to a sermon (in Spanish of course) by Pastor Pepe and tried to decipher what he was preaching about. The title his sermon was Por Que Vino la Sequia? (Why the Wine of Drought/Suffering). I didn't recognize the word sequia and thought that since it was communion Sunday he was going to speak on the wine of the Lord's Supper, but not surprisingly I was wrong and this wasn't his topic. He bravely spoke of how we are called to serve only the One True God and worshipping or serving other gods including the indigenous gods will lead to suffering and spiritual drought in the country. I thought this was particularly courageous during these days in Bolivia when there is a push to go back and worship ancestors and ancient false gods.
After the sermon it was time to share our first communion in Bolivia. First they passed the bread. It tasted a bit stale or perhaps even a tiny bit mildewed, but it was so great to be taking the Lord's Supper with our brothers and sisters here that it didn't even matter. Next, we were to take the juice....or so we thought. When the 'juice' tray was about 3 or 4 rows in front of us, Joe and I simultaneously caught a scent in the air and discerned it wasn't grape juice. Well, I suppose at one time it had been grape juice, but now it was full blown fermented wine. We began to prepare the kiddos. We told them that this church uses real wine and to just slam it down, try not to cough or spit it out. Jake sat next to me and passed me a cup. I told him next time we take communion to look for the emptiest cup for me. :>) Joe poured some of Hope's into his cup so she wouldn't have to drink so much. (At least this is the story he told me.) When it was time to share the cup together, we all slammed it down like you see cowboys in old westerns slamming whiskey shots. You can guess what the topic of our lunch conversation was. It went something like this: Josh said, "It tasted like cough syrup." Hope said, "I thought it was real blood." and so on. Joe said that it was the first alcohol that has crossed his lips in 25 years. I said at least it killed any bad bacteria that was in the bread. Needless to say I don't think any of us will forget our first communion in a Bolivian church.