Thursday, August 30, 2007

    Going Back for Seconds

    One of the attributes of my denomination that perhaps distinguishes it from many other mainline denominations is that the laity in our churches can do anything an ordained pastor can do. This includes presiding at the communion table. Such freedom meant that at our youth fall retreat last weekend, we were able to hold a communion service entirely led by the youth.
    The setting was an outdoor chapel which looked out over the campground's lake. Communion elements were grapes and a loaf of bread. Two girls in our group shared the words of institution from scripture and then invited the others forward. With big smiles on their faces, they received each person and offered them the symbolic elements of Christ's life and ministry. I took my place in line, received the elements, and sat down. Then I noticed that some of the youth had returned to the line for a second helping! Imagine that: wanting to recieve a double portion of communion. One of the other adults looked at me as if to say, "Is this okay?" to which I replied "Hey, we need all the communion we can get!" As more people got back in line, the ritual of communion took on a festive atmosphere, as we were indeed sharing in a real meal together. The typical staid atmosphere of the communion service turned festive, with the youth talking and laughing with one another. I wonder why communion couldn't be this enjoyable every Sunday?


    Danny said...

    In my congregation, people come forward to received communion by intinction from me and one of our elders. At our regional assemblies, we also take communion by intinction, and often the youth are invited to serve as diaconate. They don't usually take the place of elders, but I have found it very meaningful to receive communion from those who usually receive it from me, and who I have nurtured in faith since they were very young.