It was all wrong. Some could even call it blasphemous; but to me, it felt right. And not only did it feel right, deep inside I knew I needed to do it.
That morning I had been taken down, by the Ad Seg (the Hole) officers, to the phlebotomist. My doctor had ordered blood tests, and three full tubes of blood were being demanded of me. My arms’ veins cooperated nicely; the process didn’t take long, and I put on a brave front. Thirty minutes later I found myself back in my cell, reading my Bible.
As I read, my focus was off. My mind was not retaining anything. I found myself reading and rereading the same lines over and over. I closed my eyes, thinking of the three tubes of blood and wondering if they had anything to do with it. I got up and drank some water, then I stretched and took a few good, deep breaths.
I returned to my bunk and opened my Bible. About ten minutes into my reading I realized I was not reading where I had left off. I was not only in a different chapter; I was in a different book. But like a magnet to iron, my eyes kept reading the same phrase over and over again, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood.” I was reading in I Corinthians 11 about the Lord’s Supper. I knew I was in the wrong spot – but was I?
Being in the hole has removed me from so much I enjoyed doing with my prison family. One of those things was coming together once a month, with the English and Spanish groups, to celebrate our Lord’s supper. Having the blessing of being the main translator, I was given the opportunity to stand up front with the pastor. The beautiful saints who sat on the pews always – always! – touched me, deep in my heart.
Not only were there multiple races sitting next to each other, but the whole service was given in two languages. The roomful of once hard-core criminals, scars, tattoos, and all, taking communion together had always been a moment I loved. I always recorded those moments in my heart.
As I read “This cup is the new covenant in My blood.” it brought a longing, deep inside, to take communion. I began to weep. I could not explain the desire that erupted within me. It was a craving. A deep thirst. “Lord, I want that,” I said between sobs. Not only was I missing communion with my church family, I was missing taking communion.
I sat there, now with the light off, just praying. I didn’t use words, I prayed without words. As I did, I began to feel a motivation to take communion…but communion alone. I didn’t have any of the proper elements, so I dug into my bag of saved goodies and found a pack of saltine crackers and a small pack of fruit punch drink mix.
I laid a piece of paper on my bed. Placing the cracker on the right, I mixed the fruit punch mix with water and placed it to the right. It looked all wrong, but I didn’t care. I was being pulled by Someone to do it. I prayed as I sat there.
I cannot, and will not, say a miracle took place, but an overwhelming presence filled every cell of my being. I no longer thought I was taking communion alone. I gave thanks and broke the cracker. I ate it, then took a sip of the drink. The peace I felt caused me to shout out loud, “Thank You Yeshua!”
I broke out in song and sang for about thirty minutes. I sang songs half in Spanish and half in English. I’m sure I chopped and mashed many songs together, but I didn’t care. I was so happy that I had just been able to take the Lord’s Supper.
My experience reminded me yet again that even in the Hole, I am not alone. My Father has never left me, and continually reminds me of His presence.
I don’t suggest you take communion the way I did – with all the wrong elements, and alone. I know it should be done when the church comes together. But I also know that our Creator will not strike us with lightning if we don’t always get it right. And if you find yourself physically unable to take communion with your church family, why not take it with just you and Father? I’m willing to say that it will be a memorable experience. It was for me.
Adrian G. Torres