Peer Review by abigailp258 (United Kingdom)

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Food for the Soul

By: Ibex

    When I was six years old, I finally mustered up all my courage to ask my mother the question that had been haunting me for months, "Mom, why can't I eat the crackers at church?"
    It was a Sunday, and the hour hand was inching ever closer to twelve. It had been nearly five hours since breakfast, and I, a food-obsessed first grader, was absolutely starving. The pastor's voice droned on and on as every second seemed to slow to a slug's pace. As my stomach rumbled, I glanced at the clock and realized I probably wouldn't make it to the end of the morning worship service if I didn't get my hands on something, anything, to eat.
    Salvation wasn't far away though, for this was a Communion Sunday. At the front of the sanctuary, silver plates stood gleaming proudly, each filled with either broken saltines or small, plastic cups of grape juice. In a few minutes, the sermon would end, and the ushers would pass the plates around to each of the church members. If I could just have one cracker, my stomach would be satisfied, at least until I could make it home for lunch.
    The only obstacle was my mother. Week after week, she denied me the right to eat the crackers, despite the fact that she could hear my stomach growling unhappily beside her. Still I held out hope; perhaps this week she would decide to be a little more kind and would allow me to have the cracker I so desperately wanted.
    But she would not budge. When I leaned over and quietly asked if I could have the crackers this time, she shook her head and told me I wasn't old enough. And so I sat sullenly, watching my parents eat the crackers and drink the grape juice, heads bowed in reverent prayer. I didn't yet understand why I couldn't participate in this simple, seemingly unimportant ritual. And I wouldn't for many years.
    As a seventh grader, I began the membership class at church. In our denomination (the Presbyterian Church in America) Communion, or the Lord's Supper, is reserved for members, the people who have publicly confessed their faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. To become a member, a person must take five vows; by taking these vows, we acknowledge our need for a Savior, affirm our faith in Jesus as that Savior, and promise to live in a way that is fitting for us as His followers.
   Two years ago, I took all five of those vows, and, although plagued by doubts at the time, I truly meant them. I took my first Communion, finally allowed to eat the crackers I had longed for since I was little, but, by then, I had begun to understand what Communion meant, and why my parents previously wouldn't let me participate in it: Communion, I realized, is not a mid-morning snack. It is not about the food, at least, not about the kind that goes in your stomach. No, Communion is so much deeper than that. It is about satisfying yourself spiritually, about being in a deep, meaningful relationship with God, about affirming your need for His saving grace again and again and thanking Him for it.
    This is why my parents would not let me participate in Communion as a first grader. It was not because they wanted to starve me; it was because they wanted me to first understand who God was and why I needed Him so much. I am grateful that my mother did not yield and let me eat the crackers as a first grader, since I do not think I would get the same meaning from Communion now. To an outsider, or a hungry first grader, it may just look like some crackers and grape juice. But to us, it is so much more than that.

Message to Readers

Hey! I would love some reviews on this!

Peer Review

I found this subject matter incredibly intriguing, and this piece has been written in such a beautifully precise way. As a British atheist, I was unfamiliar with this subject, and I really appreciated how you explained yourself and your rituals, in a way to not seem condescending or presumptive, and I applaud you for this!

This work demonstrates faith and spirituality in a very bookend format, with food as the focus point. However, it is very clear to see that this passage is about much more than "crackers and juice", presenting instead somewhat of a spiritual awakening.

I would have loved to know more about the significance and pride associated with that first time eating the crackers at communion, as i think this could have really rounded up the whole text.

The title is very compelling, however I find the opening sentence a little unenthusiastic and sub-par, which really does not pay great justice for the remainder of this piece! I may have tried to open with a shorter sentence, as appose to a very long statement, including the speech. I would likely have shifted the speech to the second or even third sentence.

I really do applaud you on this piece, and I can tell you are an excellent writer. I have every faith you will go far with this gift. Keep writing and doing what you love!

Reviewer Comments

Beautiful. Thank you for this insight into your faith and development!