The Mysteries of Communion

Cadence and I decided to try out a new church this weekend as part of our mission to find a place the entire family can feel involved. In June, when the United Methodist Conference played “fruit basket turnover” with it’s pastors, one of the ones from the church I work at was assigned to a smaller church not far from where I live. He had been telling me that it’s a smaller church (a plus!), has an older congregation, and feels like a “small town church” even though it’s right in the middle of Jackson. Since Mike and I both grew up in very small churches, this was a huge draw for us. This Sunday, Cadence and I went, and I forgot that it would be Communion Sunday since it’s the first Sunday of the month (growing up  Baptist, we usually just did Communion for special occasions. Methodists are much more diligent about it!)

Cadence has been at my in-laws church for Communion, but it’s been a really long time. Because of that, she wasn’t really sure what to expect. At this particular church, you go to the alter, get the piece of bread, drink the little cup of juice, then go back to your seat. She freaked when she thought we might have to go up front, so I told her we didn’t have to go (and growing up Baptist, it felt a little weird letting her take Communion, anyway.) She apparently heard more of the sermon beforehand than I thought she did, because she was really confused (and slightly grossed out) by the references to “the body and blood of Christ.” I spent most of the time answering questions in the best way I knew how, and trying to explain to her that no, it’s not really Jesus's blood and body, yes, they are eating it but they are pretending that it’s Jesus, no, we wouldn’t really drink blood in church, and yes, we do this to show how much Jesus did for us, and that we are a part of him. I know she still doesn’t understand, but she was at least relieved to find out that all the adults in the place weren’t crazy and they were actually eating and drinking juice and bread, “because drinking blood and eating skin would be GROSS!”

It was rather fitting that she was asking these questions (and was thoroughly confused by my answers) because the pastor was talking about what a weird practice it was, and how bizarre it must look to someone not familiar with the church or Communion. Having her around constantly reminds me how entrenched I am in the church, how normal it all seems, and how crazy it must look when you’re someone who isn’t “churchy,” or a 5 year old who hasn’t “learned the lingo” yet. It’s teaching me to really ask why we do things, and find new ways to explain them instead of the answer being “because that’s how it’s always been.” Both of which I think are great things.

Things I’m thankful for:
1) Hard questions
2) Warm, friendly people at the church
3) A place in this city that feels like home
4) Cadence not being afraid to ask questions
5) What Communion means

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