by Bill Steinbicker
Sunday, April 2nd 1950 was a special day for me: I was being confirmed and that meant I’d also have my first communion. Finally at age fifteen, after a long series of confirmation classes given by Pastor Henry Ressmeyer at Grace Lutheran Church in Malverne, New York, I’d be able to kneel at the railing and receive communion.
There was something else special about this day: My maternal grandfather came to church to see me confirmed. Although raised Catholic, Grandpa was a member of a Masonic order and no longer attended church. At this time of my life, he lived with us and was a strict but loving father figure for me. I felt very special having him there to watch the ceremony, especially in the absence of my father (my parents had separated).
As a fifteen year-old I didn’t understand the full meaning of receiving the Holy Sacrament. It was more the idea of being able to participate along with the other members of the congregation. The full meaning of the Sacrament grew slowly in my mind until, as an adult, it has become a cherished part of a church service. Receiving the Body and Blood of our Lord makes me feel especially close to God.
After returning to my seat I find it the ideal time to sit quietly and pray for family, friends and others with special needs. There is something profound as others walk quietly to and from the communion servers, no doubt experiencing some of the same feeling I’m having. There is also something very loving when my wife Mary is serving communion and, before going forward, whispers to me “Try to come to my station!”
During Lent 2011, we are encouraging the St. Philip the Deacon community to reflect on the Sacrament of Holy Communion — recalling early memories, describing memorable celebrations of Communion, or reflecting on how Communion informs daily life. This post is part of that series. We invite your reflections about Communion, as well. If you would like to submit something for this series, please send it to Pastor Cheryl Mathison at firstname.lastname@example.org.