by Dena Dyer @DenaJDyer
Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ?” 1 Corinthians 10:16 NIV
Ten years ago, I took Communion with my almost-six-year-old son. It was his first experience with the bread and the cup after surrendering his young heart to Jesus. And it’s something I’ll never forget.
Jackson fidgeted as we waited to receive the elements. He cuddled up next to me and looked up at me with big, blue eyes. “Is it our turn yet?” he whispered.
“Almost,” I replied. When our turn came, Jackson and I followed our friends up the aisle. As we reached the pastor, Jackson looked at me to see what to do. I smiled at him and took the bread, then dipped it in the cup. Of course, Jackson did exactly what I did—a humbling reminder of the weight of my responsibility as a mom to two sons. As we made our way back to our pew, he took my hand and squeezed it. Happy tears filled my eyes.
In contrast, I remembered how Communion (or “The Lord’s Supper”) used to feel in the church I grew up in. We only took part in the tradition every few months. It seemed as flat and tasteless as the pasty-white wafers we chased with mini plastic shot glasses of grape juice.
However, about thirteen years ago, smack-dab in the middle of a crisis of faith, I went on a “Walk to Emmaus” retreat. When we took the elements, it was reverent. We didn’t rush through it, and it wasn’t an afterthought or something we did by rote. Rather, it was both an invitation and a response; one I finally understood. Obeying the Word, we came together to remember Christ’s ultimate sacrifice. And as we invited Him to join us, He invited us to share in His suffering…and His joy.
I had suffered a lot over several years prior to that retreat, and I was holding the losses I’d felt against the only One who could heal me. My faith was shaky, my marriage lonely, and my churchgoing spotty. But during the weekend, God reminded me that Jesus hadn’t suffered so I could be miserable. He had suffered so I could know the joy of overcoming. Each time I took the bread and the cup, the realization that Jesus died for even me overwhelmed me. I felt pure and clean, as if all the tears I cried over the weekend had washed not just my face, but also my insides.
I guess I’m a slow learner; after all, it took me about three decades of churchgoing to really understand Communion! Still, I’m glad I grew up the way I did. I don’t take it for granted now. It’s sacred to me—and that might not be the case if I had grown up differently.
As my sons have grown up, they’ve known their own share of suffering. But I’ve watched them also know the joy of the resurrected Christ, the hope of eternity with Him, and the truth of His mercy.
I pray they continue to serve Jesus, and I am grateful that we are not only family, but also brothers and sisters in Christ. As I Corinthians 10:16 states, the cup we drink is a cup of thanksgiving. There are many things I am thankful for—most of all, Jesus’ sacrificial death and His resurrection.
Before we entered the church that memorable morning a decade ago, I had reminded Jackson that we should pause for a moment before Communion to thank God for sending Jesus to die on the cross for us. “But Mom, we should do that every day,” Jackson said.
This article first appeared on The Theology of Work website. Used by permission.
About the author: Dena Dyer is the author or co-author of ten books for women and hundreds of articles in magazines, newspapers, and websites. She lives in Texas with Carey and their sons Jordan and Jackson. She loves bargain shopping, decorating, and traveling. Find Dena on Instagram and Facebook, or at her website.
Dena and Carey’s book, Love at First Fight: 52 Story-Based Meditations for Married Couples (Barbour) will give your marriage encouragement and hope when you find that the once endearing, charming, and distinct qualities that once attracted you to your spouse are now a source of stress and conflict.
Join the conversation: What does Communion mean to you?