I'm passing the bread, but it isn't dinner time. Which can only mean one thing: sacrament in the church. The Mormon church. The tray of bread the teenage boys who hold the Priesthood prepared before uttering the usual prayer is now headed straight for me via the hands of other god fearing Mormons.
"Oh god the eternal father..."
My best friend Lisa's mom is taking her turn.. First she daintily plucks the morsel of bread from the silver tray, then she places the white fluff of yeast into her mouth. Now she passes the tray to her husband who does the same. Next comes Lisa's big brother Jimmy and her sister Laura. Now bullets of sweat are slipping down my back. After Laura comes Lisa and after Lisa it's my turn.
"...we ask thee in the name of thy son, Jesus Christ..."
The bread and the tiny, thimble-sized cup of water that is to follow is supposed to represent the flesh and blood of Christ, the dude that everyone tells me died for my sins. The doctrine of the Church is that Holy Communion is morally necessary for salvation.. That is to say, without the graces of this sacrament it would be very difficult to resist grave temptations and avoid grievous sin.
"...to bless and sanctify this bread to the souls of all those who partake..."
Probem is, I've already sinned. Last weekend I let my boyfriend Matt stick his hand up my shirt. I haven't told my bishop yet. So I don't deserve the sacrament. But it's coming my way and if I don't take my turn everyone will know I'm a sinner!
"...that they eat in remembrance..."
That's when one of the boys who pass the sacrament parks his size 10 Kenneth Coles next to my pew. He's waiting for the bread tray. Since I'm sitting at the end of the row it will be me that hands it to him. It also means he will be watching every move I make. But so is god, watching every move I make. The Lord sternly warns church members to refrain from giving the sacrament to those who are unworthy. If I take the sacrament in my sinning state I'll surely be in bigger trouble than I already am. It says so right in The Book of Mormon:
3Nephi, chapter 18 (verses 28-29): "… this is the commandment which I give unto you, that ye shall not suffer any one knowingly to partake of my flesh and blood unworthily, when ye shall minister it; For whoso eateth and drinketh my flesh and blood unworthily eateth and drinketh damnation to his soul; therefore if ye know that a man is unworthy to eat and drink of my flesh and blood ye shall forbid him."
The tray clinks noisily against Lisa's watch as she takes her turn, but my heart sounds like it's pounding louder than the brief collision of metal. I can't take the sacrament, I just can't! It wold be wrong. I risk a peek at Laura who is still chewing her bit of bread. Behind me, someone coughs discreetly. Off to my left one of dozens of babies in the congregation begins to wail before it's mother deftly swoops it out of the chapel and into the lobby.
"...that they may always have his spirit be with them..."
Lisa passed the tray of bread to me and I promptly pop a piece in my mouth. It's what we all do.