We missed communion on World Communion Sunday.
Bubble and I went to Sunday School while Computerguy hung out in the car letting Squeak nap. I did the storytelling/drama for the 1st and 2nd graders. I have to admit, I had a much better time with them than I had with the 3rd through 5th graders. It was probably partly because I was more comfortable with the situation and it was my 2nd time through (we didn’t have any middle schoolers last week.) Partly because they were just a little bit easier to deal with. They aren’t showing off socially. Confession: When I was talking extemporaneously with the kids, I realized I was using masculine gendered words and pronouns. It’s really hard to unlearn, to make that switch. (Mompriest, any ideas other than just practice?) Anyway–the teaching energized me. Boy do I miss that!
We went to church, sitting in back on the side where we would make a minimal distraction when we left. I’m glad we were there for as much as we could be. The sermon was a good one. We all feel like exiles sometimes. My favorite image from the sermon: our pastor admitting that her Jesus wears bellbottoms.
In the transition from sermon to offering, we slipped out. Computerguy and Bubble headed straight to the car, but I thought it might be nice if we got Squeak from the nursery and took him, too. We were heading to a young friend’s baptism. We drove 45 minutes to a church that meets in a community center, parked, and saw our friends retrieving their bag of clothes from their car. We walked with them into the building and then left them to prepare and went outside where the portable baptistry had been set up. It was some kind of plastic foam that looked pretty much like a hot tub. We wandered around for awhile, keeping the kids entertained and chatting with our friends and their family. It was hot. Finally, the baptisms started. It was a very baptist moment. The pastor emphasized how one accepts Jesus Christ as one’s personal savior and then follows Christ in the purely symbolic act of baptism. With each baptism, they asked if the person had made the decision and when. So the candidate for baptism says yes and gives a date. (I would say more here, but I don’t want this to be a theological post.) Our boy was second. His dad is an ordained pastor, so he was allowed to perform the baptism. It was a good moment. I was happy to be there, to be included. I wish I could have seen a little better. Maybe with the portable baptistry, they should have gotten portable risers. But that’s okay. We were there.
And then we went back to their house and ate barbeque pork sandwiches and hung out and had a really lovely afternoon. Mrs. Friend’s sister has a little guy just 2 months older than Squeak, so it was fun watching the little boys interact. I got to spend time with our friends’ daughter who has always been a special part of my life. It was a good day. And so we didn’t get to take communion, but I think we celebrated the spirit of World Communion Sunday as we spent time in Christian unity with people whose practice is decidedly different than our own. And both places, we talked about other parts of the world. In her sermon our pastor talked about how the global South is giving us new images of Jesus (not in bellbottoms, I presume) and one of the boy’s baptism gifts was a world map puzzle. It was a good day.
A couple more thoughts: 1) In all the time we spent together, I never brought up that our kids are being baptized in 2 weeks. I’m torn. I may yet invite them, and certainly in 10 or 12 years I hope we will have confirmations to invite them to. But, as I’ve said before, infant baptism is just such a sticky thing. (If you happen to read this, please know you are absolutely invited or come for lunch afterwords if you don’t feel comfortable coming to the ceremony. We’d love to have you.) 2) I was less disappointed that we were missing communion when I realized it was being passed around instead of served from up front. I still hate missing it and we missed it in September, too. And may miss it in November unless we go to church in Boston with our Harvard Divinity School friend, but I wanted to be called by name, to be served by an individual. Even though I spent most of my life having the plates passed, and I was well into my 20s before I ever was served communion by intinction, I vastly prefer it.