BY DEWEY LINVILLE |
When I was very young, the Church did not have a nursery during our services. Children were brought into the sanctuary and taught to sit still and be quiet. When I misbehaved, there would be a series of whispers, looks, and pinches from Mama, leading up to being taken outside by Daddy for further instruction.
I always liked communion. The grape juice was good, but the bread, not so much. I would sneak and drink Mama’s juice and then ask her for more. This usually resulted in what became known in later years as the “ole stink eye look.” In other words, sit down, quit talking, or we will go directly outside with Daddy.
As I grew, I didn’t say matured, I would sit quietly, eat the bread, drink the juice, and try to sing all the songs. I enjoyed watching the Preacher in his long robe, later known as the surplice, moving between the pews passing out the bread and juice, later known as the elements, and the head usher attending to the needs for more juice and door holding. It was after I experienced the school of hard knocks, that I began to understand and appreciate communion.
Our Lord Jesus Christ, the same night in which he was betrayed, took bread, and, when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, and said: Take, eat; this is my body which is given to you. This do in remembrance of me.1
After the same manner also, Our Lord Jesus Christ took the cup, when he had supped, gave thanks and gave it to his disciples, saying Drink of it, all of you; This is my blood, the blood of the new covenant which is shed for you and for many, for the remission of sin. This do as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.2
I listened to the Preacher recite the two salutations preparatory to communion, but many times did not think of the underlying message being given. As I reach the winter of my life, I still grin to myself and get a warm feeling, remembering Mama and Daddy and their lessons for a growing boy.
A greater lesson is to be learned from Our Lord Jesus Christ. There he stood, with his friends, some of whom had betrayed him that very day, and some who said nothing, hoping to go unnoticed. He knew that in a few short days his ministry would end with his cruel crucifixion. Yet he continued to teach, “This is my body which is given to you”, and “This is my blood which is shed for the remission of your sin.” Remember me.
The Lord Jesus Christ is speaking not only to my neighbor, but also to me. I accept the bread and wine with only a fractured understanding of the full meaning and significance of Jesus Death and Resurrection, but I leave communion assured that Jesus has promised me eternal life.
Bliss Beyond Compare
Bliss beyond compare, which in Christ I share;
He’s my only joy and treasure;
Tasteless in all worldly pleasure
When in Christ I share bliss beyond compare.
Jesus is my joy, therefore blest am I;
Oh, His mercy is unbounded,
All my hope on Him is grounded;
Jesus is my joy, therefore blest am I. 3
1. Hymnal of the Moravian Church, 1969, page149
2. Hymnal of the Moravian Church, 1969, page 152
3. Hymnal of the Moravian Church, 1969, page 370 (68)A Seelebautigam vs 1 & 2
About the Author
Dewey Linville is a member of Oak Grove Moravian Church. He has served on various Boards and Committees and been a member of the Church Band for 60 years. He can be contacted at [email protected].