I felt grateful to be asked to serve and was excited to participate in this way.
However, as people started coming to the front of the church, I was shocked at how emotional I became serving communion to others. I could hardly state the words that I was supposed to speak as they took the 'body' from Ryan and dipped it in the 'blood' that I held.
"This is the body given for you," Ryan said.
"This is the blood shed for you," I whispered while trying to hold back tears.
I knew many of the people who came up to receive communion. I wanted to stop each of them and individually say to them:
"Joe, this is Christ's blood shed for YOU."
"Brad, this is Christ's blood shed for YOU."
"Katie, this is Christ's blood shed for YOU."
I wanted to grab faces in my hands and look into eyes and say: "whatever your past, whatever your present, whatever road you walk or have walked...it's done. He did it. It was taken care of on the cross...for you. Do you know that? Do you believe that? Receive that truth today friends. This is Christ's blood shed for you."
Communion isn't about tradition or ritual. It's about receiving the gift of a sacrifice. And it's about remembering:
His body. Broken. For me.
Each time I drink the cup...remember me.
This is personal business people. Christ tells us to examine ourselves before we eat the bread and drink the cup. It's not about following what those around you are doing. Communion is about a relationship with Jesus and remembering.
I know some churches celebrate and recognize first communion. But really, shouldn't every communion be treated as our first? Otherwise we can risk becoming callous to what the body and blood mean for our lives.
I've taken communion so many times and I do not enter into it lightly. I pause, reflect, pray, confess, receive, remember and give thanks. I strive to comprehend the magnitude of Christ's sacrifice for me.
But offering the body and blood to another...wanting them to see and experience the sacrifice personally...desiring to help them remember...it's changed my perspective on communion forever.