I had probably started Communicants class by fall of seventh grade. In those days, children needed to go through the Presbyterian classes on membership before being allowed to participate in communion. I would watch as, first the shortbread squares passed by me, and then the thimble-size containers made of real glass 3/4 way filled with grape juice. People struggled with that tray, no one holding it with one hand. I anticipated the day I took communion. My mother sometimes would have grape juice at home for me after communion days. She would serve me.
The first Sunday in October is World Communion Day. After I married, I especially looked forward to this day, as I felt all the Church celebrated communion in these twenty four hours, connecting me to Mom and Dad back in West Middlesex, while I lived in Connecticut and New Hampshire. This annual day commemorated our one accord in our faith.
Reverend Hatch taught my communicants class. We learned so much. What it means to be Presbyterian. The duties of membership. The government of our church, and the denomination nationwide and world wide. We are part of a bigger movement. Our Scottish history that our nation's constitution fashioned after Scotland's Church's constitution. One Sunday our preacher brought in his Greek and Hebrew Bible from seminary. Wonder filled me as I realized he knew how to read the Bible in the original languages. I think it was that day, I wanted to go to seminary and be a minister. I wanted to study the Bible in depth, read it in Greek and Hebrew, like Reverend Hatch.
When I really had to decide in ninth grade my career, I felt being a nurse would use both my physical skills, my hands for God, as well as my spiritual gifts. I originally wanted to go to the mission field, until I decided marriage and children, I wanted more.
We met missionaries though my high school years. Bill and Lois Anderson, serving in Sudan, were sponsored by our church. They visited often and wrote letters read from the pulpit. Another family was the Bailey's. They were in Cairo, Egypt. I heard Ken on Moody Bible Radio last year around Christmas giving a Middle Eastern insight to the Christmas story. His letters also were part of our services.
On World Wide Communion Day, then, unity with our brothers and sisters around the world permeated our service. I sipped the grape juice picturing the Sudanese in their outdoor chapels, also in thought of the Lord's supper. I ate the bread imaging the Scottish believers where our Presbyterian roots were. We would sing a song from another country. Maybe our liturgy included a foreign church. Usually a insert in the bulletin covered another congregation, either in our country or around the world.
I love the sense of community around the world with my Christian brothers and sisters. We today also mentioned that great cloud of witnesses that are ever urging us on in our Christian race(Hebrews 12:1). A song today brought that to mind, as I thought of Mom and Dad in heaven and the other saints crossed over to the other side. We all celebrate Jesus, we with elements here on earth and they with Jesus, Himself. Oh, glorious day when we all are together.