Our first communion together. After 25 years and 6 days of marriage. Four days after my husband’s salvation. And less than 24 hours after shared disclosures of our sexual history, sin and betrayals.
The day before, I heard details of my husband’s sex and porn addiction behaviours. He was blindsided with the stinging news that his wife (that would be me) had an affair many years earlier.
The morning after had arrived. In the two months that my husband had regularly been attending church with me, we often left home separately, as he served on the worship team and needed to be at church early for practice. This Sunday was different. There were guests leading the worship service. He would be operating the sound system but had set it up the evening before. In God’s grand design, we drove to church together. Raw. Quiet. Each of us immersed in our own unrelenting pain. Separate yet united.
We walked into the sanctuary. He headed for the sound station. I sat with a friend. Disappointment weighed heavily on my heart that we were not able to sit together as a couple for our first communion.
The immensity and weariness of our brokenness kept me from singing. My heart was breaking that even here at church, circumstances and seating arrangements were disconnecting us on a very special occasion.
I decided that once I had received my bread and wine (or rather grape juice and cracker) I would go and stand beside my husband at the sound station. There was enough division in our marriage. This would not be another time. God’s sanctification and redemption was for us to claim.
I was too late. A movement beside me. I looked up and there he was, joining me on my pew! He said we had to be together for his first communion. It was a bittersweet moment. The joy of partaking in our first communion together was covered with an overwhelming sadness. We could not move. Or sing. Or pray and reflect. My husband had his arm around me. I had my head tucked in his shoulder. And we just cried together. Walking to the front of the church for prayer was not a possibility. The weight of our pain immobilized us. Our pastor came to us. Never before or since have I seen him approach anyone seated in their pew for prayer. Nothing was ordinary about that day. After a bit, my husband went back to work the sound system. The rest of the service was a blur. Except for the words of one worship song that resonated deep within me:
The sun comes up, it’s a new day dawning
It’s time to sing Your song again
Whatever may pass and whatever lies before me
Let me be singing when the evening comes.
The morning after the most difficult day of our marriage, with the day stretching darkly ahead of us, these words brought me a glimmer of hope and light. The sun had come up. And nothing would ever be the same again. We were both now fully aware of all the “whatevers” that had combined to ravage our hearts and marriage. The devastating effects of sexual sin and betrayal were very much our present. And would be daily for a long time to come. But the actions and behaviours were in the past. It was the “whatever” lying before me that remained unclear. And yet it wasn’t. Unknown where the details and timing of God’s plan to rebuild our lives and marriage. Known was the commitment to the process I felt during the communion service from all three of the components in the trinity of my marriage – God, husband and wife.
God gathered a broken man and woman to Him that morning. In the brilliant setting of a communion service. Where we were called to remember the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ as He bled and died on the cross for me. For my husband. For every one of us. Where extravagant love and overwhelming sorrow were forever united at Calvary so they could one day join us on our church pew. Cleansing. Purifying. Transforming. I am forever humbled and grateful.
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22,23