As promised, here is the thought that I knew I had a great post for last night but forgot.
Yesterday morning I was introduced at my new church. I have been hired part time as their Christian Education Director and will be planning/helping with programs for all children and youth (4yrs-senior high). I'm quite excited albiet nervous about the whole thing. It was nice because after the service there was a carry-in (potluck) after the service and I was finally able to start meeting some of the kids and youth. I think overall it will be great fun.
Because yesterday was kind of the kick off day for everything (Sunday School started, LOGOS starts Wednesday, choir is back, etc.) we had communion. This church does communion a bit differently than I'm used to. This church is Presbyterian and I have almost always attended a United Methodist church. The differences are fairly miniscule.
Anyway, the communion that I have experienced the most has been that of intinction (spelling?) where everyone walks to the front of the sanctuary and rips off a piece of a real loaf of bread and dips their piece in the cup. My new church, however, serves it in the pews where you pass the bread and the cup and everyone stays seated. Usually when this is done churches use wafers or crackers or some other unpleasent bread option. Yesterday, however, there was real bread and you still had to tear a piece off, it was just done in your seat. That makes me hopeful that that is how this church does it, because I honestly do not enjoy the little cracker things.
The bread you ate when you recieved it and then the members of session who were serving came back around and passed around the little cups of juice. The cup we took all together.
What was most striking to me, though, is what was going on throughout the congregation as communion was being served. Whenever I've seen this done in the past whatever congregation I've been in has sat there almost silently, listening to the music, waiting for everything to get passed and it almost always seems like an eternity. Yesterday was not like that at all. When the bread and cup were being passed there was definitely a twitter around the sanctuary. Heads turned, conversations were whispered, and the pastor even went around and talked to a few people. There was music playing that we all enjoyed, and people were quiet and respectful when the pastor was speaking and when we took the cup in unison.
At first I didn't know how to react. It was completely different from any communion I had taken. I wasn't sure whether to be upset that people didn't appear to be giving it the reverence it deserved or to start a conversation with the people around me too. It was strange. But once I thought about it for more than a milisecond I realized that I really enjoyed it this way. I liked watching and listening to the fellowship that was going on around me. I like that it seemed as though everyone knew how important communion was, but that they weren't going to be awkardly silent during it.
Besides, isn't communion from the last supper, the sharing of a meal. I'm sure that if I were having dinner with Jesus we wouldn't be sitting in silence, awkardly waiting for everything to get passed and consumed before we talked. In fact I'm pretty sure that we would have a lot to talk about and that it would feel rather comfortable. Just like communion did yesterday.
I really am looking forward to serving this church and having fun with their kids and youth. I'm still nervous, and I definitely have my doubts and struggle more often than I'd like to admit with my own faith, but yesterday reminded me that it's ok. We all struggle, but that's why we have each other. And besides if God is for us, who can be against us. He'll definitely be with me as I walk into this new chapter of my life and my faith and I'm pretty exited about that.