Transformational Worship: First Communion

Posted on April 23, 2017 by ELCA Worship

 

Today’s post is from Marissa Sotos, mission developer at Tree of Life in Minneapolis, MN.

 

I was 22 when I took communion for the first time. The church I grew up in only communed once a year, and by the time I was old enough to partake, I was also old enough to be skeptical.

Then a year after college I found myself sitting in a Lutheran church. Working in the congregation’s office had started out as just a job, but soon I got curious, and once I experienced worship, it drew me back like gravity. Intellectually I was still an atheist, but on Sunday mornings I just couldn’t help myself. There I’d be again, stumbling through the liturgy, and there God would be again at the back of my mind saying, “Just talk to me. Please.”

I didn’t though, and I also didn’t take communion. Each week the ushers would come by and each week I would shake my head. I knew communion meant eating Jesus’ body and drinking his blood. That seemed like something I shouldn’t do unless I was willing to let God be a part of my life.

Over the weeks I started to change though. That God-voice in the corner of my mind wasn’t going away, and I began to look at the people taking communion with less trepidation and more longing. One day, the balance finally shifted. Instead of hunkering down when the ushers came by, I stood up and followed the congregation. The pastor recognized me, “This is the body of Christ given for you, Marissa.” I took it and ate, I drank the wine, and then as I turned to go back to my seat, I completely panicked. What had I just done? Had I eaten God? How would that change me? I rushed back to my pew, lightheaded and with my heart pounding.

The rest of the service was a blur and I left as soon as I could. Outside I tried to clear my head, but it was no use. That God-voice was there, more insistent than ever, “Just talk to me. Please.” Having just eaten Jesus’ body, I felt that I could no longer refuse. “OK God, yes, I’ll talk to you.”

I was right to wonder how communion would change me. It did, and it does. These days I approach the table with more love and less fear, but as I stretch out my hands I still wonder, “How will this change me?”

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