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Monday, January 14, 2008

Frozen Jesus

Over at the Anglican neighborhood known as "HOB/D" (House of Bishops/Deputies Listserv), the conversation shifted from "Hate the Sin/Love the Sinner" to swapping recipes, to talk of putting together a HOB/D recipe book and selling it as a fundraiser for ERD / MDG.

At the moment, we're continuing with the effort to let tempers subside and hurt feelings heal and we're swapping recipes and stories about using 'real bread' verses communion wafers for Eucharist.

Here's my story:

I was hired as Chaplain at the University of Lowell (MA) in January, ordained Deacon in April and priest in October. Until I was priested, I had to rely on the generosity of local clergy for reserved sacrament in order to provide weekly Eucharist for my students. No one at that time (1986) and in that Diocese was using bread - only wafers.

A friend had been ordained to the priesthood and her family had made the communion bread. There were three consecrated loaves left over and she asked me if I wanted to take them home, which I gladly accepted.

My beloved Ms. Conroy, still in recovery from her RC days, was troubled.

"That's a lot of bread," she remarked. "How are you going to store it?"

"Oh," I said, "I'll just put it in the freezer."

She was horrified. Completely horrified. "YOU CAN'T PUT JESUS IN THE FREEZER" she yelled.

Well, here's one of the first rules of a committed relationship: When your beloved lets you know what will disturb her, especially at the crossroads of the sacred and the profane, you have an absolute obligation to use it to torment her.

So, I did.

I brought the consecrated bread home, wrapped it carefully (and in fact lovingly) in several layers of aluminum foil, and put it in the freezer.

The next morning, while she was sitting at the kitchen table, drinking her coffee, I opened the refrigerator, and in a high, squeaky voices said, "Barbara. It's me. Jesus. I'm right here behind the chicken and in between the packages of frozen broccoli and peas. Help me. I'm so cold."

Ms. Conroy, thoroughly disgusted, got up, took her coffee and snarled at me as she left the room.

The next morning, I did the same thing, much to her disgust. When she left the room she called over her shoulder, "You're going to rot in hell for that."

On the third morning, I did it again, but this time I bumped the torment up a notch. I did my impersonation of a very cold Jesus, ending with, "Barbara, help me. Save me." I opened the freezer door wide and yelled into it, "If you are really the savior, save yourself!"

At which point, Ms. Conroy slapped her hand on the table, got up and took the two loaves of consecrated bread out of the freezer and tucked them under her arm. "Where are you going with that?" I asked.

"To feed the birds!" she replied, adding over her shoulder as she walked out of the room, "I'd rather they ate of the real presence than to have Our Lord go through this!"

We laugh about it now, but she didn't talk to me for a week after that.

Yes, we still torment each other. Regularly. Perhaps that's one of the reasons we'll be celebrating our 33rd Anniversary this year.


Bill said...

I had a similar incident when someone was slightly horrified that I was putting my Eucharistic visiting kit along with the reserved sacrament into the trunk of my car. I told her that a Miata doesn’t really have a trunk; it’s more like an over-sized glove compartment. Obviously she didn’t buy that explanation and I remember that disapproving look to this day. Jesus doesn’t mind the trunk at all and it’s kind of comforting knowing he’s back there.

Lapinbizarre said...

V funny. Thank you.

Ann said...

I was shocked the first time we did a shared Eucharist with the Lutherans -- they believe it is only the Body and Blood while the community is gathered. After communion we were all in the sacristy and they were tossing the extra out. The Episcopalians about had a heart attack.

Muthah+ said...

Frozen Jesus??? No wonder people accuse us EDS grads of scandal! Now I know what cause all of the scandal in the Church! A queer who froze Jesus! I shouda guessed!

Muthah+ said...

Ann, Lutherans believe in the real presence--they just don't believe in the immutabale acts of priests!

June Butler said...

Elizabeth, you are quite naughty. Please give my condolences to Ms Conroy for the torment she suffers at your hands.

the Reverend boy said...

OMG this is TOOO TOO funny! I almost spilled wine all over the computer.


Jesus in the Fridge! LOL!!!!

i will be chuckling to myself all night!

Thank you thank you thank you.

Fr. John said...

So, what were you planning to do, put him in the MICROWAVE after freezing Him?

Thank God for Ms. Conroy :)

JimB said...

OK, you owe me a cup of coffee! I have not laughed that hard in weeks.

I do not care what some idiot legislature says, you two are so married!


Unknown said...

Actually, when I was a member of a strongly liturgical Lutheran parish years ago, we used bread baked by one of the member families. She kept the loaves in her freezer and pulled them out week by week.

One Saturday, she forgot to let it thaw and so tried to use the microwave to get it ready for church. Unfortunately, she left it too long..and it got too dry.

When the pastor held the loaf up for the fraction there was this loud >POP< as the loaf broke (cracked) in half! Dry crumbs went flying everwhere!

The pastor made a dash to the tiny sacristy and brought out some reserved sacrament wafers. (This particular parish DID belive in immutable acts.)

David said...

When your beloved lets you know what will disturb her, especially at the crossroads of the sacred and the profane, you have an absolute obligation to use it to torment her.

heh ::snort::

I knew I liked you for some reason ;)

Ellie Finlay said...

I have such a strong Anglo-catholic upbringing that I'm a bit horrified at myself for laughing at this but it is SO funny! And the comments are great. (Especially David's!)

johnieb said...

Absolutely, David, TFELP I know. (The added "F" is for "Finest")

Marie said...

We use real bread and it tastes REALLY good. So during coffee hour we (usually I because I hate to see it go to waste) take it around and ask people if they'd like some more. The kids are especially fond of this, but most people are happy to have more Jesus.

Since we have a bread guild (different baker each week), you also hear comments like "Jesus is really sweet today." At my house, we think Jesus tastes really good hot out of the oven with butter.

I'm never going to be ordained, am I?