Ibex

United States

Christian
as in Presbyterian Church in America
(denomination)
Writer
Novelist
Reader
Ambivert or something
Self-proclaimed band nerd
Planet Earth nerd
etc, etc
Joined September 10, 2019

Message to Readers

Here's the final draft!

Food for the Soul

June 15, 2020

    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. If I could just have one cracker, my stomach would be satisfied, at least until I could make it home for lunch.
    But my mother would not allow it. 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, not yet understanding 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:

1. Do you acknowledge yourself to be a sinner in the sight of God, justly deserving His displeasure, and without hope, except through His sovereign mercy?
2. Do you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as the Son of God, and Savior of sinners, and receive and trust Him alone for salvation as He is offered in the Gospel?
3. Do you now resolve and promise, in humble reliance upon the grace of the Holy Spirit, to endeavor to live as becomes the followers of Christ, according to the Word of God, as contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, which is the rule of life?
4. Do you promise to support the Church in its worship and work to the best of your ability?
5. Do you submit yourself to the government and discipline of the Church, and promise to strive for its purity and peace?

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 people.
    It was during this membership course that my science class began to delve into biology. I loved science, particularly biology, because it amazed me that God created all the creatures I saw in the world around me. Now, my teacher presented the origin of life without any mention of God. My own beliefs directly clashed with what my textbook taught. As I considered the membership vows I would soon take, I began to doubt God's very existence. I thrust myself into research, searching the internet for any sign of God in the natural world. Little did I realize that the Bible contained the only evidence for God's existence that I needed.
    Jesus said to Thomas, "Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed" (John 20:29). I stumbled upon this one sleepless night, and I don't think it was by accident. I believe God led me to this verse. It was enough to remind me that we do not believe because of sight: we believe because of faith.
    Two years ago, I took the membership vows, and, certain of God's existence, 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.
    Communion, at its heart, is about remembering Jesus' sacrifice on the cross, something we did not see but still believe. The Bible commands us to take Communion in remembrance of all Jesus has done for us. That first time taking Communion, while incredibly aware of my own sins and shortcomings, I also had a deep, very real sense of my Savior's love for me.
    Communion itself does not save, nor does it rid us of our sin. Sitting in the pew with a cracker in hand, I was still unable to love God and others as I should have. I still told lies. I still put myself and other things before God. On occasion, I still doubted God's existence. I was still the same sinner I was before. However, Communion directs us to look to Jesus, the only one who can wash away our sins and change us to be more like Him. Jesus is the only reason I can say with confidence that I am saved. Communion simply reminds me of this truth.
   Communion is definitely 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, which was a transformation that only time and God's work in me could bring about. To an outsider, or a hungry first grader, Communion may just look like some crackers and grape juice. But to us, it is so much more than that.
Citations:
The Bible. English Standard Version, Crossway, 2001.
“Book of Church Order.” Administrative Committee PCA, 2020, www.pcaac.org/bco/.

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