You will know them by their crab legs

The hubby and I had an impromptu date night tonight. He’d been wanting a chance to eat the seafood buffet at a local restaurant (for which we happen to have a gift card!), but he usually has class on Thursday nights. Since this is Holy Week, no class, and our friends were available to babysit, so seafood night was ours to behold.

We had no good idea what to expect. When the hostess asked if we were having the buffet, and we answered affirmatively, she grabbed a metal bucket and escorted us to our table. I don’t know if I actually looked at my husband at this point, but I was thinking, “Um, what’s the bucket for?” As we walked to our table, I noticed the buckets full of inedible seafood parts and was enlightened. OK, this is going to be fun, I thought.

My husband prayed before we left the table to approach the buffet but admitted that he was distracted by all the cracking sounds he heard. It was definitely noticeable.

We gave the buffet the once-over so as to choose wisely what we would eat: clams in the shell, tilapia, haddock, salmon, shrimp, shrimp and more shrimp, breaded scallops, clam strips, crab cakes …

and these:

Yeah, those are crab legs. They pretty much take up a whole plate. I decided to be adventurous and try one. Bear in mind, I’ve never eaten crab legs before. I admitted this to my husband when I sat down and added, “I don’t know how to eat a crab leg.”

I tried ripping it apart with my hands but ended up with cracked shell and little bits of crab. I was beginning to think it wasn’t worth the effort, even though it tasted good. My husband and I both thought there had to be an easier way.

Enter, the regulars.

A nearby table filled with three people. All three came back from the buffet with plates piled high of crab legs. I tried not to stare. Most importantly, though, they came back from the buffet with these helpful little gadgets.

Yeah, I’m pretty smart. I totally missed the crab leg crackers (if that’s even what they’re called) on the buffet. My husband graciously grabbed one for me, and I set out to figure out how to crack crab legs. There really should be a tutorial or a picture or a step by step guide. Or maybe I just needed a sign that said it was my first time. So, I watched the nearby table — the guy went through two heaping plates full of crab legs in no time. Trying not to stare, I started to catch on to what I needed to do. I mean, this guy was pulling long, intact pieces of crab out of the leg while I was eating it in bits.

My second crab leg, I started to figure it out. But by this time, I was so full that I could hardly finish it. Now, I want to go back just so I can practice eating crab legs.

We were headed to church after dinner for Maundy Thursday service, and as I savored my ice cream sundae, I was convicted about my enthusiasm for seafood night and ice cream sundaes and food, in general. Not that food, in itself, is bad, but am I as excited to be gathering at the communion table with brothers and sisters in Christ, feasting in remembrance of Him?

And then I thought about how confusing communion can be to those who aren’t “regulars.” We talk about the body of Christ and the blood of Christ and we offer bread and juice or wine, and we ask people to eat and drink. We pass the elements, or sometimes we line up for them or kneel at the altar or drink from the same cup. Sometimes we dip the bread in the juice. Sometimes we take it all together; other times, we take it one by one. I, for one, don’t know the significance of any of the various ways to celebrate communion, and I’m in church almost weekly.

What does communion look like to those who aren’t in church weekly? And who’s there to guide them through?

Bread and grape juice aren’t exotic, but tonight they tasted better than the crab legs. “Taste and see that the Lord is good,” the Bible says. How many people miss out on a spiritual feast because they don’t know what to do with Him?

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