Sunday, March 1, 2015

"Why Did You Drink Blood?"

Today was the second Sunday in a row where our entire family attended church together. Last Sunday I was installed as an elder. This Sunday, I was asked to serve communion. Our church serves communion once a month, alternating between intinction and passing the elements down the pews.

We dropped the trio off in the nursery and took Jackson with us in the sanctuary. We hoped Jack would go to children's chapel after the children's message, rather than the nursery like he did last week. We didn't even have the option, since children's chapel is not offered on communion Sundays. I asked Jackson if he wanted us to take him to the nursery, but he said, "I want to stay in grown up church".

Jackson was rather well behaved, though at one point, he did army crawl up and down a vacant pew. He had his Captain America figurine and was coloring in the bulletin.

My role in serving communion was to hold the cup and say, "This is the blood of Christ, shed for you." as each person dipped the bread in the cup. While there are definite disadvantages to attending a small church, the sense of belonging and connection of our small church keeps me there. I was able to look each person in the eye and call them by name.

Jesse obviously did not partake in communion.  Since we hadn't really discussed communion with Jackson, I didn't think it was appropriate for him to receive the elements. Jackson was silently playing and coloring during the sacrament. I assumed he wasn't paying attention. When I returned to the pew, he seemed very concerned, almost agitated. He whispered, "Why did you drink blood?" I should have known he was listening. Of course this was a valid question and a difficult one to answer, especially for a preschooler. I assured him we were not actually drinking blood. I tried my best to explain that eating the bread and drinking the juice help us be closer to Jesus and remember how he died for our sins.

I've written and deleted at least 20 sentences, trying to express my feelings from this morning. I can't seem to write a nice, neat paragraph with a happy little closure. I am humbled that I can serve communion. I am proud to be a leader in the church. I am excited that Jackson is learning and questioning aspects of Christianity already. I'm frustrated that Jesse chooses not to participate. I'm confused on how to provide support and respect different beliefs. I'm overwhelmed that I have to answer hard questions alone.

I guess the good news is that there is space for all of those feelings and questions, and that I know I am not really alone because I have a larger community of faith. Like everything else in life, we'll just take this day by day

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