Opinion

Find fullness, grace in communion

Christ has died;

Christ is risen;

Christ will come again.

It was sacrament, and it was ritual and I knew it was important. The words were the same every third Sunday of the month.

The United Methodist Communion Liturgy is poetry, prose and the gospel in less than five minutes.

I loved the intonation, the inflection and the way the reverend would seem to be singing the words.

It is right and a good and joyful thing, always and everywhere, to give thanks to you,
 Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth.

I loved the way the entire congregation would snake all the way through the sanctuary, kneel at the altar in groups of 20 and receive the sacrament. Everyone standing, moving, kneeling, sitting in concert and perfect order.

Then we moved. And my family started going to an Evangelical, non-mainline church.

There were things I liked about that church, and there were things I didn’t like about it.

I liked the communion crackers. They were more like pastries and I wanted to know where I could buy a whole 9×13 of them. It tasted good, like I thought communion should.

I did not like the communion service. Or lack of it. I didn’t like how the pastor’s words changed every time, I didn’t like how I didn’t know what to expect.

Now I am back at a liturgical church. I have returned to my roots for many reasons and not just for the Eucharist — but I have learned to love it even more than I did as a child.

Draw near with faith.

When I put the cracker in my mouth, I let it sit there. I wish it was bigger, I wish I had to bite off a piece. I like that imagery better. I like picturing it as something I can’t get ahold of, something that is too big to fit in my mouth all at once. Not something dainty. Something large and messy. Maybe more like a croissant, something that leaves flakes all down my front.

I bite down and let the cracker break in between my teeth. My taste buds go wild, my saliva starts to collect.

I drink down the juice. It slides down my throat and the crumbs of the cracker get washed away. My senses are stimulated. I always want more. I desire more than that little oyster cracker and half-ounce of grape juice. Maybe that’s the point. To make us desire God that much more.

I love the way that this binds us to Christians through the ages, the way that while the church has died and come back to life a hundred times and has evolved and grown and expanded and contracted, this holy meal has stayed constant.

The Lord’s Supper is one of the most constant things about my faith. I never refuse it. It is the mystery of faith, and I want all of it. When everything else is shaky or altogether gone, I hold onto this. It is grace, and I need all I can get. I’m starved, and this is a feast.

You have seen the Savior. Now go in peace.