On Sunday, I managed to do something that is very in tune with my general klutziness & general inability to be taken anywhere without doing something stupid. I was visiting a church I semi-regularly go to for my own spiritual nourishment (not that I don’t get nourished at my own church, it’s just nice to go somewhere sometimes where you’re not working), and it happened to be a communion service.
I’d never been there for communion before and was intrigued to discover that the bread was pitta bread & you dipped it into the wine. (The dipping was less intriguing, intinction is the method of choice amongst most of the churches I visit.) The elements were passed around the congregation while we sat in our pews and all in all, it was a nice experience. However, as I dipped my pitta bread and raised it to my mouth, the wine dripped – quite considerably – down my top. Well, not down my top, more under my top and absorbed by my (thankfully not white) bra.
Luckily, no one saw what happened (it was at this point that I was very glad we were in our pews). But it struck me that I was now faced with an ecclesiological dilemma…
The elements of communion are very important and are to be treated with respect once they have been blessed. After the service, all the leftover bread and wine has to be eaten. In certain traditions within the church, the only way of disposing of them is eating or burning. And thus I pondered whether I ought to do something about the wine that had gone astray. Obviously, I tweeted:
Thankful to be wearing black on the day I manage to drip communion wine down my bra… Do I need to do anything about the blessed sacrament?
— Liz Clutterbuck (@LizClutterbuck) August 18, 2013
And obviously, the Anglicans of Twitter responded with ‘helpful’ advice:
@LizClutterbuck One of the few occasions when the Catholic Church advocates the burning of bras!
— Michael Carrigan (@luctonchap) August 18, 2013
@LizClutterbuck Herself says ‘high folk will burn or bury, low folk will simply wash’. Thus your choice.
— Graham Hartland (@ramtopsgrum) August 18, 2013
Leading to one potentially inappropriate solution:
In response to those who suggested bra-burning, I suggested perhaps I could endeavour to suck the wine out of my bra (given the cost of Bravissimo underwear, I was reluctant to burn it). Hopefully, that won’t count against me at some point in the future…
My learning points? Black is always a good colour for clothing. (Except when you drop toothpaste down your front.) Pitta bread really isn’t as absorbent as you think it might be – and definitely less absorbent than a communion wafer. On Twitter, you will always find people who know the correct solutions for your ecclesiological dilemmas…