The kitchen was across the hall from a stairway leading to the sanctuary. Once month it was my favorite place in the church.
Once a month our church celebrated communion. When I came of age, I started taking it. I can’t express how significant communion Sunday became for me.
In our church, the blood of Christ was real grape juice, the kind that came out of a bottle, and was not not the Kool Aid. And the body of Christ was the moistest white bread I have ever tasted. It was cut up into small bit size cubes.
Communion was always at the end of the worship service. The shiny silver communion trays rested on a sturdy wooden table at the front of the sanctuary engraved with “In Remembrance of Me.” The trays’ glimmering dignity was in proportion to their grand contents.
The custom was to hold the two elements in your hand until all were served and the trays returned to the table. The anticipation eating and drinking was palpable. Pastor Hibbard would say words I was unable to hear being so focused on the delicacies. I was clued in enough, however, to hear the most important words “do this in remembrance of me.” Because after he said that I could eat that delicious cube. The process repeated for the cup and the signal was given, I downed the juice.
When the concluding hymn was sung, and the final benediction offered, I bolted out of the pew and down that back stairway to the kitchen where with other boys we drank the juice out of the communion cups as if we were downing shots. And grabbed fist fulls of the bread cubes and squished them together into balls before shoving them in our mouths until all was gone and we were left wanting more. “Next month!” we would say. It couldn’t come soon enough!
I’m so thankful that my church let me be a boy. They let me gulp and gobble the body and blood of Jesus. They didn’t prohibit boys being boys chowing down with such gusto, joy and mischief the leftovers of the Lord’s Supper.
From my vantage point now as an adult and as a follower of Jesus, I’m convinced Jesus was delighted that his life was so consumed by boys.
Oh yeah, we were Baptists!