Two Sunday’s ago, Harper and I had the joy of worshipping together in the back pew of our church. Usually, this is difficult, as our sanctuary is very large, and sitting in the back doesn’t offer a great visual for children – or adults for that matter. But, we came late, and thus, that’s what was available.
She had her worship journal with her, and as has been the habit for several weeks now, we settled into our tradition of writing questions and answers back and forth regarding faith and the service.
This week, however, the written conversation took a big turn as we began a dialogue about sin and why Jesus had to die.
Without sharing the exact contents of this discussion, as it is her journal after all, it became clear to me that Harper does indeed have a fundamental belief in Jesus as the Son of God. Savior. As Lord? Well, I believe this belief only grows with time – the act of following Him completely with heart, soul, mind, and strength – one’s whole being.
So, as communion was served that morning, Harper became frustrated when the plate wasn’t offered to her.
In what can only be described as a stage whisper she said, “Mom! I believe! I believe!”
She was emphatic.
At that moment I realized that I could not see inside her heart. I could not be the judge of this statement, for we had just completed pages of Q&A about God’s love for her and the ultimate sacrifice made by Jesus in order that she may spend eternity with God in heaven. I had even shared with her how the act of communion was a symbol of Jesus giving his body and blood for her.
Thus, I summoned over an elder and friend, Ray Carmichael, and shared in whispers that this would be Harper’s first time taking communion.
“Harper, this is the body of Christ. Broken for you.”
I helped her to answer with, “Thanks be to God.”
As the juice was passed, I made sure that it was offered to my daughter.
At first, I was saddened that George was missing this very important step in Harper’s spiritual development, and yet I also knew that he wouldn’t have wanted us to pass up the moment just because he wasn’t present.
I realize that this is just the beginning for Harper. Having taken enough courses in seminary to now be of the belief that there isn’t necessarily a “sinner’s prayer” or just one “moment of belief”, I know that this act of faith is a first step down a long road of her faith journey.
I am thankful that God allowed me to share this special moment with her, for I too have a memory of my first communion. It is certainly not as special. What do I remember? My partner (as I took my first communion in the Catholic Church dressed as a bride and partnered with a boy in a tux) going the wrong way after taking the Host.
He blew the blocking.
And that’s my memory.
Hopefully, Harper will have a different memory of her first communion. No dress. No veil. No partner. Just Jesus. And her. And Mom. Back pew.