A Communion Story -- "There's More"

World Communion 2006Image by Avondale Pattillo UMC via Flickr
This past Sunday our focus was on World Communion Sunday.  I know most churches do this back in October.  But we had stuff going on.  Now's when it fit our schedule between sermon series.  And, regardless of the timing, it was a day to remember what communion means for our little church and for the Body of Christ around the world.

This is about uniting Christians.  This is about keeping the memorial feast of Christ.  This is about being fed and feeding the world.  This is about community.  It's about communion.  We are made for it.

Well, the sermon was done.

The confession was done.

We had taken up the offering.

And now we were into communion.

I've said, this is the high point of my Sunday.  I love it.  I love presiding.  I love serving.  I love partaking.  I love being at Holy Communion.  And, in particular, I love the way we do it at Girdwood Chapel, where everyone's welcome...especially the kids.

Well, on Sunday one little girl decided to come up on her own.  She's only about one and one-half years old. She didn't want to wait for her mom for the bread and so she walked on down the aisle, following dutifully after some of the other kids.  I leaned down and handed her a piece of bread and said, "This is the body of Christ, broken for you."

Now, this is where the story ends for most 2-year-olds.  We try to have real good bread during communion and most kids of that age just like to have the bread and go.  And that's fine with me.  I think it's wonderful. I think it's holy.  What's funny is that the little one stared at me as I was ready to move on to the next person in line.  She stared at me with a look that said, "There's more."

She wasn't "done" with communion until she dipped the bread in the juice.  After that, she was content to go back and sit with mom.

What's so great about this story is that it shows how the practice of Holy Communion shapes us.  There's memory associated with it.  There's a ritual that even a little girl who's not even two years old can pick up and learn and participate with the grown-ups.

I know that there are many denominations where a "closed" communion is practiced and the thought of having kids this young come up would be completely foreign.  But for us, this fits right in with who we are.  And, my prayer is that, as this little one grows up, it will fit right in with who she becomes.  I pray that, wherever she finds herself twenty years down the road, she'll see bread and cup lifted up and know that it's God free gift of salvation for her.
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