First Communion

Posted: August 22, 2014 in communion
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That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 (KJV)

Do you remember your first communion? My husband was somewhat surprised recently when I shared that I could recall almost every detail of mine. It is one of those memories that I have treasured in my heart since I was ten years old. As a general rule in our little church, only baptized believers were invited to the Lord’s Table to share the bread and wine, so how could I forget the day that I was invited inside the community fellowship? Not only was I allowed through the “gate”, I was also allowed to have my very own place at the table.

One of my favorite bible stories is in Exodus where God provides manna for the Israelites, It’s amazing to think about God providing bread for His people for forty years. As I took my first piece of unleavened bread from the communion tray, I remembered thinking about manna. Even though I was young, I understood the hope in God’s provision and, for some reason, I connected it to the meal I was eating. Although I was delighted to be sharing in the breaking of bread, unleavened bread did taste a little odd, and I wondered if manna tasted odd to the Israelites. Maybe communion and manna have nothing to do with each other, but I cherish the sweet and curious thoughts of “younger me”. Other times I think about those thoughts and wonder if “younger me” knows more about tasting Jesus than “older me”, which reminds me of these verses: “And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:1-3 (KJV)

As a child I did not understand exactly why we needed to drink the blood of Christ, but I did understand what it represented. New Life. My heart fluttered when the deacon stopped and offered the cup to me. The taste of the juice was cool and sweet and was served in individual communion glasses passed to the congregation in silver trays. Being obedient to Jesus’ words in participating in the Lord’s Supper gave me a new identity as one of Christ’s disciples. It was a name I was happy to receive.

Remembering my first communion cannot be complete without mentioning the concluding song. Immediately following communion we joined hands and sang Blest Be The Tie. This was in keeping with the tradition of Matthew 26:30: “And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.” We were an instrumental church fellowship; however, this was the only time I remember us singing without a piano accompaniment. I can still see individual faces and hear voices rising up from that song as we circled the sanctuary. There was nothing professional about it, only a joyful presence before the Lord.

Thirty years later, I enjoy reflecting on my first communion. There is so much more to share, and I look forward to writing about it. I did not always stay in this “spot” of rest and joy before the Lord. I’ve traveled through some dark times since then; however, God didn’t let me stay there. He is an amazingly sweet Papa that goes after the “one”, and I’m forever grateful for that part of his character. The little church that I grew up at taught me that communion is a beautiful gift. I have also learned that there are many ways to celebrate communion, and I’m fascinated with the diversity that God placed in humanity. Everyday I’m learning a little more about His Table, Communion, Community, and Love. Today I celebrate with a community of believers that practices open communion every Sunday. It’s the sweetest part of my week. 🙂

Notes:

Recently my mom gave me a couple of communion glasses from the church from my childhood (they’ve recently changed to disposable cups). I was delighted! My heritage runs deep at that little church, and the glasses are a treasure, filled to the brim with love. 

I have used scriptures from the King James Version for this blog piece in order to be consistent with the translation I heard as a child. I read my first NIV bible when I was a sophomore in high school. Until that point, I had no idea there were other interpretations. 

 

Reflections:

Do you remember your first communion?

What is Papa God teaching you through communion?

 

 

 

 

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