Another first for me at St. Paul. Celebrating First Communion! For the past four months or so, our 10 second-graders have learned about the Eucharist through watching Davie and Goliath, scavenger hunting for things like chausables and patens, and baking their own bread. Last Sunday was their big day, getting all gussied up and taking communion for the first time with their proud parents. The church was full of chaos, but the good kind - "holy chaos." :) And some of those girls looks ADORABLE in their fancy white dresses!
I also busted out the ol' guitar during worship (another first), to teach two songs that we learned during the first communion classes. I say "we learned" because I learned them too, and then taught it to a church full of people. I was a little nervous, but it went really well! Those kids were so funny - some were looking at me just agog, like they had never seen a guitar-playing-lady-pastor before! :)
I just gotta share this too - during communion a kid I didn't recognize (must have been a relative of someone receiving communion) looked at me as I poured the wine for him and asked in an incredulous whisper, "is this real wine?" It was all I could do not to laugh. I think I did nod, though. I just wanna know that kid's story.
One of the interesting differences between church at home and church here is the age of first communicants. Back home, it's fifth grade. (I remember at one of my first communion classes, I basically recited the words of institution verbatim from memory. Yeah, I was a big church dork). To be honest, I was a bit shocked when I learned it was SECOND grade here. I couldn't help thinking - "that seems a little young. Are second graders really ready to take communion?" But then again, are fifth graders? Are seventh graders? are 25, 30, 50, or 90 year-olds? Is any one really "ready enough" to take communion?
Because, you know, it's not about state of mind, it's about state of Grace, brought to you by the very body and blood of Christ that you are partaking. Just look at Sarah Miles - she took communion before she was "properly instructed" and look what happened: she became a pastor (and wrote a book).
Second or fifth grade - it really just matters that their parents (or somebody) are bringing them to church and taking communion with them. We're all sinners together, after all - young, old, church dorks and athletes, rich and poor.
"To the banquet come, it's not just for some;
Young and old, big and small, you may come."