We gathered as a family this past Good Friday. My daughter Elizabeth and daughter in law Becca planned this informal gathering a few weeks ago. We would let the kids color eggs, maybe cook smore’s over the fire pit and simply enjoy each other. One evening as she was praying the Lord led her to add one more thing to our time together–communion.
This was something we had just never incorporated into our times together, but we were all in–at least the adults! We gathered the elements–a bun from the store, grape juice and small plastic cups and six children–ranging in ages from 12-2. It was different, but good for everyone except for a reluctant 12 year old. He finally, with persuasion joined us in the celebration.
As we partook of the elements God reminded me of a time in my life as a young girl where I was also a reluctant participant in communion opportunities. Our family were members of an American Baptist church where communion was served the first Sunday of every month. I remember dreading those Sundays for awhile. I was surprised to have those memories surface and all the emotions around them came flooding back. I had never shared any of this with anyone!
Later when we were finished, he and I were sitting together and I shared my own communion nervousness, fear and concern. I shared how I had picked up the cup and cracked it a little so it leaked all over me. I remember wondering if I had defiled the blood of Jesus! I shared how my dad looked at me disapprovingly but didn’t have anyway to help me fix the mess. I shared how I wondered if I was really worthy enough to “take the cup”–even though I had prayed the salvation prayer many times to make sure! His face began to shift from shame to connection. He shared how he too was always afraid he would spill the cup, so he set it on the floor but then worried that he would kick it over with his foot! I shared how I finally realized that the reason Jesus asked us to do communion was to remind us we needed a Savior! We were only made “worthy” because of His love and grace anyway. I was so grateful for the opportunity to share my story with him. This was not a planned conversation, but it was a set up by the Holy Spirit to help my grandson navigate his faith in a very real way.
Sometimes we forget to talk about some of the practical sides of our faith (like how do you keep from spilling your juice?) Or if you do it is OK). As a young girl, who loved Jesus with her whole heart, my struggle to feel worthy of the communion process was something I never shared with anyone. I don’t think my grandson would have shared his feelings with me if I hadn’t made the first move and shared my story. The relief on his face that he wasn’t alone was amazing. Who knows how God can use each of our “hidden back stories” as we love those around us and make use of the opportunities that come our way.
A quote from Winston Churchill: The pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity, the optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty. I am thankful I did not judge my grandson by his outward actions. I’m sure being reminded of my hidden story helped me see past his actions and speak to his heart. God’s mercy and grace at work.