Back before I left for Namibia, people said some pretty stupid things about what life would be like in Africa. There was grand speculation that I would have to eat bugs at some point, a notion that I dismissed as ridiculous since I was heading for a “holiday town,” where it was more likely that I’d be forced to eat steaks and lobster half the time.
As it turns out, I was right about not eating bugs… until that fateful day that we were doing the Lord’s Supper at church and I looked down into my tiny little glass of grape juice. (Yeah, we had grape juice. We were Namibian, but we were still Baptist, y’all.)
On that particular day, someone must have left the cups uncovered. And as was always the case in our lovely, tropical town, the windows were open in the church. These two practicalities combined to create a bit of a catastrophe as a fly had landed himself right in the middle of my juice. I hadn’t noticed him until I had already taken the cup, which was saying something because it was a HUGE fly.
At this point, as all around me people were praying and examining their own hearts, I considered my options. I could leave the cup untouched, creating speculation all around me that I had some huge unconfessed sins going on and offending others with my snobbery, likely. I could drink it on down, offending no one but perhaps creating potential health risks to myself. (I mean, it was a HUGE fly.) I praised the Lord that at least the thing was dead, raised it to my lips, and prepared to take one for the team…
… when the fly MOVED.
Oh, sweet Jesus, I began praying silently, rather impassioned by the quandary I was now in. Swallowing a dead fly is one thing, but this is just too much.
Before I could become sacreligious with my prayers and ask that He take the cup from me, my friend, Frances, chanced a look over at me in my distress, saw the fly buzzing in the cup and began laughing quietly. The deacon who had come around to take the cups saw that I was still praying and left me with my fly, while I, too, began to laugh. Finally, mercifully, the deacon came back, saw what was going on, took the cup, and gave me a smile.
After the service, I had so many people from our very small church express some concern that I had been so obviously distressed during that particular Lord’s Supper then became something just short of hysterical with my laughter. More than a few told me, patting me on the back as we left the church that day, “Shame, man, I shall pray for you.”
Shame, man, indeed!