When I was growing up, my parents would take me and my brother to First Christian Church of Des Moines just about every week. My dad was a PK (Preacher’s Kid), so I guess the habit just stuck with him.
Either way I loved going to worship, at least from what I can remember (though I will admit there is probably some nostalgia there). I loved the mesmerizing organ music played. I loved to sing as loud as I could with the people around me. I loved the responsories, being able to have a conversation with the person up front. As I grew older I even started loving listening to sermons.
Maybe I had a special relationship with the church and its congregants, what with my grandfather serving there for a number of years, but I have a particular memory of how three people showed love to me there.
When I was a boy, let’s say 6 or 7 years old, I would do something a little sneaky. After the congregation had partaken in Communion, the Lord’s Supper, or the Eucharist (whatever language floats your boat), I would leave out the back and head to the kitchen. Somewhere along the way I learned they discarded the extra grape juice and wafers there.
So just about every Sunday I would leave to go the kitchen, and there I would find either one of two men and one woman (there might have been more men and women who did this job, but these three’s faces are forever implanted in my mind) doing their duty of getting rid of the extra elements (sorry if your Table theology is a little more high than FCC’s was). Once there, Pat Campbell, Scott Stine, or Al Edwards would always let me gorge myself on what they were throwing away.
I would emerge from the kitchen and into the Fellowship Hall with purple stained lips and completely satisfied (though I would still drink my share of punch thank you very much). I don’t know if my parents ever figured out what I was doing (they probably did), but they never stopped me. Eventually, I guess I put away my childish things and stopped myself.
I honestly can’t remember the first time I officially took Communion as a Christian. I was in the 5th grade because it was on the day I was baptized, but the actual act is gone. But that’s okay because I can remember when I was first welcomed to the Table. I can remember when loving adults let a young doe-eyed boy drink little plastic cup after little plastic cup of juice, and eat tiny square cracker after tiny square cracker. In that kitchen, under the watchful eyes of wonderful church people, I learned at God’s Table, there is more than enough.
Thanks be to God.