When I was like 8 or 9 or 12 or something I took Firsts Communion at St. Thomas Moore Catholic Church in Austin, TX. I don't really remember it but we have the picture to prove it. And while I don't remember First Communion, I do remember that I hated going to CCD, which when you completed it, you got to take First Communion. I don't think I went back to St. Thomas Moore after that.
It was probably a good eight or so years before I had the opportunity to have my second communion at Grace Community Church in Austin, TX. Invited by a friend for Wednesday youth group, I ended up going back on Sunday morning. I was a regular do-gooder I guess. Anyway, they started passing around a tray with those little clear plastic cups filled with grape juice and little oyster crackers. Before the tray got to me, my friend made it clear that I shouldn't take communion. In so many words, I was told that if I had not had a conversion experience, taking communion would banish me to hell with no possible chance of parole. He said something like it's one of the biggest sins you could possible make: to take communion without being "saved."
So I passed by communion that day. I watched everyone else sip their grape juice and down their oyster crackers, wondering if they were strategizing just how to convert me.
Eventually I did take communion again. I did so tonight. I was thinking about this story and wondering if it is truly so offensive to partake in this ceremony without really understanding Christianity. I also began to think about how we're supposed to repent of all our sins before we take communion and I was wondering if there was a time - or rather, how many times - I had taken communion without examining myself and this allegedly most holy of ceremonies. So I tried to unload a few things as quickly as I could when Girl Supercomputer, who must have snuck out of the kids' room jumped up in my lap. I figured that meant it was time to get out of my seat and I headed up there and took the bread and drank the cup with her in my left arm.
One day she'll probably ask what communion really means. I have all these conflicting thoughts and conflicting stories to tell her. I don't want her to feel like she's not allowed to do anything, particularly partake in a religious experience. But I don't want her to just do it because everyone else is doing it either. I know I have a little time before such a day occurs, but I don't know what story to tell her.
I'll probably just tell her the one about when she prevented me from recounting every bad thing I had ever committed. That's kind of what Christianity is anyway.