I remember when I first started to blog. It was a blogspot blog called “Where Is My Slingshot?” in reference to feeling like David without his slingshot. I think it was around 2007 or 2008, I stumbled on a public letter Jennifer wrote. I can’t remember who it was to, but it was beautiful and I commented to tell her so. I’ve kept a finger on her whereabouts since then, so it’s fun to be co-authors of the same book.
Jennifer’s chapter is an homage to her friendship with a woman named “Michelle”. From what I understand, Michelle was there at an important time in Jennifer’s faith journey. The “cup” Jennifer references is the communion cup that Michelle holds in the front of their church.
“I probably ought to be praying or reciting a creed or adjusting the volume, but I can’t help it: I am watching her, how she cradles one golden chalice in her hands before the Lord’s Supper begins” (page 187).
Michelle befriended Jennifer when she was new at her church. They bonded through being committed to both the friendship and to mutual openness. It’s a quality in adult friendships that Jennifer saw as “a rare gift” and believes is how a person can be “soul bare”.
Every church is different when it comes to how communion is observed. At Jennifer’s church, they take chunks off of loaves of bread and dip it into a cup of wine and eat it. At her church, Michelle holds the cup of wine and greets people as they come up to her. From what I understand, every time Jennifer takes communion, she’s moved to tears by the cup in her friend’s hand…
“I linger long in that one spot, put my right hand on her left hand, and then at last, I dip into the cup. She says the words to me: ‘The blood of Christ given for YOU, Jennifer.’ And I taste grace once again. It tastes like the slow burn of wine and the salt from my own tears, let loose by a cup in the hands of a friend” (page 192).
Cheers to friends.
Cara Sexton, the woman behind the Soul Bare idea, wrote the final chapter. She titled it, “Lost and Found”. I’ll write my thoughts about her chapter next.