A NINE-YEAR OLD'S PROFUNDITY
When I was about nine years old, I stood at the base of a small staircase in a line with adults and youth, all wearing white cotton gowns. Through the door at the top of the stairs and across an expanse of red carpet a galvanized metal tub was sunk into a stage at the front of a sanctuary filled with a hundred or so people. In the tub, filled with warm water, was Pastor Doty.
One by one we walked across the red carpet, down into the water-filled galvanized tub, and were baptized “into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”
In my young, nine-year old mind, baptism had three purposes. First, it declared to the gathered church that I had received Jesus. Second, it made me a member of the church. Third, and most importantly to my young mind, it meant that I was now able to take communion.
As I think of it now, my nine-year old mind had grasped something profound about baptism and communion. When we eat the bread and drink the cup, when we are immersed into the name and into the water, we declare our trusting participation in the Triune God AND our trusting participation with one another.
Something profound happens when we remember together in these rituals. Communion happens.
Of the following definitions, I think #5 may just say it best. The words are simple—“act of sharing, or holding in common; participation”—but the meaning is profound when put into the context of the Triune God and the People of God.
Lord, may I begin to understand.
1. (often initial capital letter) Also called Holy Communion. Ecclesiastical.
a. the act of receiving the Eucharistic elements.
b. the elements of the Eucharist.
c. the celebration of the Eucharist.
d. the antiphon sung at a Eucharistic service.
2. a group of persons having a common religious faith; a religious denomination: Anglican communion.
3. association; fellowship.
4. interchange or sharing of thoughts or emotions; intimate communication: communion with nature.
5. the act of sharing, or holding in common; participation.
6. the state of things so held.
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Unless otherwise noted Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. http://www.esv.org/