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Three Cheers for Holy Communion

21August2012

This summer is the second summer that I have taken my 3rd – 6th graders on a “Mystery Trip.” This journey was inspired by my pastor who “dragged” me and my husband along as leaders on his version of The Mystery Trip when we were just 25 years old and feeling that God had something in mind for our lives. (NOTE: There is no such thing as breaking the 7th commandment if you are stealing a good idea for forming disciples of Christ!  In fact, all good ministry ideas are meant to be stolen!) Last year there were about 10 kids who went; this year 15 young people were ready to make the journey, to where they did not know only that it would not be the Glass City because that is where we went last time! The one thing they did know was that we would be studying the sacraments and confession.

So off we went on our journey of three days. . . fifteen kids and five adults, to stay in a nice hotel and with a swimming pool.  The swimming pool, I swear, is the highlight of these trips! As we headed out for our second day of mysterious activities it dawned on me that only one of our kids had yet to take his first communion.  He has recently been baptized but the time to join the table had yet to occur.  Our second day was focusing on the Eucharist.  My concern was that this fellow would feel intensely left out that night as we would gather around the hotel patio that we had commandeered for our evening meals and lessons. I phoned his mother and rambled into her voicemail about how her son would be the only one and he would be receiving the proper training and what did they think about him having his first communion while away from home? Since both parents are nurses and they were working long shifts I finally got the call later that day.  “Yes!” she said.  “On one condition. That you take lots and lots of pictures!”  DEAL!

So that night as all twenty of us gathered after our lesson, full of chicken strips and jo jo potatoes, we began to worship.  The little plastic cups were lined up along the outside circle of the wrought iron patio table of grace.  The host was in the middle of the table on a white styrofoam plate. We talked about what would happen and so the children knew that Christian would be first tonight. When the time came all of the kids made a line behind him, straining to see their friend’s first taste of the sacrament. . . not a sound came from that patio though behind us the noisy traffic of a very street buzzed with activity. Guests checking in to the hotel could see we were up to something but they tried not to stare. . . a little boy inside the pool area peeked through the window at all of these kids lined up for some reason that he could not imagine.

When the time came Christian stepped forward, decked out not in a shirt and tie like the others remember wearing (girls in pretty dresses), but with flip flops, a t-shirt and shorts. “The body of Christ given for you, Christian.”  Snap. Snap. Flash. Snap.  “The blood of Christ shed for you, Christian.” And then it came.  Like joy erupting from a big play at a football game. . . cheers rippled through that line of youngsters!  Clapping and hurrays filled the air around us!  The kids were so happy for their friend to join them at the table that they shouted with joy and patted him on the back!!

Since this moment occurred, this story has leaked out of my mouth at least four times in my preaching!  If children of the faith burst into cheers when their friend has his first taste of Jesus then the Holy Spirit must be alive and active in the church (and outside on patios at the Radisson Cleveland Airport)! The next Sunday Christian joined the assembly at the table, with mom and dad, sisters and brothers. . . and his faith family. . . they heard the story and tears filled their eyes!

God is good! Jesus loves us and he is the Bread of Life. . . all the time and everywhere!

 

ACL @ CCD

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