I read an article that made me chuckle. Then as I thought more about it I laughed out loud, all by myself I laughed. While I was laughing a voice inside said to me ‘Tselane it’s not funny”. That was the angel in me. The devil in me said, “It is, it’s very funny”. The devil, of course, was wrong. The devil is always wrong.
The article was about women in Zimbabwe who kidnapped and raped men. The women injected them with something to fortify the man parts. It was said that they saved the sperm in condoms and used it in rituals to bring good luck.
There are things, thoughts going through my head right now that I should not be thinking. I dare not write them. Oh, such ignominious, shameful thoughts of poetic justice. Let me say no more. It is monstrous and I am deeply ashamed.
Penitence should lead to repentance. The good Catholic child that I once was decided to go to church. Not really, but I did feel a churchy need come over me during the week. I was looking forward to going. The damned train delayed us. It sat on those rails between stations for about half an hour. I hate being late, and without this train and it’s delays I wouldn’t have been. We were chucked off the train somewhere in The Bronx and had to walk several blocks to get the subway. Thank God I gave up heels. It was up hill all the way. Huff Puff! The subway station was 245th street, or something way out there in the great beyond.
There was a guy on the subway train who was sitting behind dark glasses. All these scantily dressed young girls with hair down to their tiny waists were standing and he was sitting ogling them from behind dark glasses. It gave me the creeps. Then an extremely old lady got on and I was appalled that he didn’t get up to let her sit. A woman opposite gave up her seat. But then, he was so into the ogling of the girls perhaps he didn’t notice the extremely old lady.
There was a real life, straight out of the 80’s punk rocker on the subway. He wore a red MacGillivray tartan kilt and a black punky top and a black punky leather jacket. His hair was bizarre in that way of defying gravity that punk rockers achieved in the 80’s. Blue seems to be the popular colour for hair this season. He wore baggy leggings under his kilt. Every visible space of flesh, face, neck, was covered in tattoos. There were chains all over him, and red patent platform shoes with a thick black rubber platform and well, he was a punk rocker, therefore he was a mess. I haven’t seen one of those in years. He was walking art.
The taxi I took when I got off the subway took me on a little tour of Harlem. I saw it, but I said nothing. I kept my mouth shut because I couldn’t trust myself to sound calm. I was an hour late for church. Can you imagine? I went to Riverside Church. It is a magnificent neo-gothic cathedral on the upper west side. It’s famous as a place of activism and social and political intervention.
I missed the hymns and sermon. I was, however, in time for communion. It was bread. They don’t have the host; that circular piece of rice paper that represents the body of Christ. Neither, do they have those awful and terrifying effigies of Jesus nailed to a cross. We were given pieces of real baked bread cut in perfect centimetre squares. There was a choice of brown bread and white bread, which I thought was very inclusive of them. One has to chew the bread. I felt bad about that because you don’t want to chew Jesus, do you? Although He did say ‘take, eat, this is my body’. He also broke bread, not wafer thin pieces of rice paper, so it makes sense.
The host simply dissolves on the tongue, so one has more of a sense of assimilating the body of Christ than eating it. I always take communion when it’s offered. I totally respect communion and I always think that it’s a really macabre ritual. The blood came in charming little silver chalices, no more than 2 inches tall. The blood was grape juice. It makes more sense than wine. How are you going to help a recovering alcoholic who has come to find direction through the Holy Spirit if you’re going to pour wine down his throat and tell him it’s the blood of Christ?
In all my considerable years I’ve never seen the Eucharist celebrated with actual bread.