Today, I get to do one of my favorite things. I get to teach First Communion class. I always find the classes very interesting and I love the responses of the kids and parents as we explore this sacrament. It takes me back to when I was a 5th grader in my own first communion class. I remember my Mom crying as she talked about how much communion meant to her and I have kept that memory very close to my heart. Every time I receive communion, not only am I reminded of the gift of forgiveness we receive from Christ, I remember the gift of faith that my mother passed onto me. It is one of the reasons why I always say, “Thanks be to God!” instead of “Amen” when I receive the wine at communion.
I was reminded of this when I saw a post recently on the ELCA Clergy Facebook page. On the post, a pastor wrote that when he gave communion to a boy, the youngster responded with, “Awesome.” The pastor then wrote, “When he learns that the proper response is ‘Amen,’ I hope he will always remember that it is awesome.”
You know what my first thought was? I hope the kid always says “Awesome” and doesn’t worry about saying “Amen.” Communion is awesome. It is the body and blood of Christ given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins. It is what helps to renew us in faith and reminds us of the salvation given to us by Christ. We need to be reminded that it is awesome.
There are times and places to do what is expected. And there are times and places to express our emotion, to say “Thanks be to God” or “Awesome” when the situation warrants it. I would love for one of our first communion kids to say “Awesome” when they receive communion. Because then they would always remember what a gift communion is.