My First Communion

Lenten Reflection, Friday, March 11

By: Amelia McDaniel

I was a child when the new Book of Common Prayer was put together. One of the major changes made was that children were invited to the Eucharist. No longer was Confirmation the “admittance” to the altar rail. All baptized children were included in the feast.

I attended a small church near Kentucky Lake in the summers. Father Ray Lord, or Father Lord, was our priest and he and my mother decided that at the age of five I was ready to participate in this new option. For several weeks, Father Lord and I dutifully worked our way through a booklet where he asked me questions and I drew pictures and “wrote” my responses with my “emerging reading skills.”

The day of my first communion came. It was the Feast of St. Peter and the service was to be held outdoors at a family friend’s lake house followed by a big fish fry. Just before the service a storm rolled in and the skies opened up. So it was that I took my first communion while kneeling on sculpted green shag carpet in front of a dining room table. The power was out and it was dim. There is a blurry photo I have of the day. You can see me, towheaded with a Dorothy Hamill haircut with my grandmother and godmother standing beside me smiling.

It is a prized photo for me. Not because it really shows much of anything because it is so blurry, but because I remember that moment as clear as day. I can smell the musty storm air and the feel of the carpet on my knees. I can smell the bitter sweetness of the wine and recall how new that was to me. Mostly, I remember feeling that I was being included in something bigger than myself. I remember that my family was proud of me. (That was until I went sliding down the big grassy hill in the rain in the white dress my mother had made for me.)

Being able to participate in the Eucharist is one of the practices that forms us without too much fanfare or explanation. The mystery and power of this gift to us from Jesus will never be fully understood or explained, no matter what your age. This is the feast for all of God’s people and that includes the little ones.

So, we want to introduce St. Mary’s little ones to this feast through an interactional learning workshop. David and I will lead an instructed Eucharist on Saturday, March 19 for children (ages 4 – 5th grade ideally) to learn about this sacrament. We will begin by baking bread together in the kitchen followed by an instructed Eucharist in New St. Mary’s. If you have wondered about how to introduce your children to communion, this is a great opportunity to learn together. Please reach out to me if you are interested in participating.