I must have been about ten. I might have been slightly older, but not much because I remember my sister being pretty young. I was at church with my grandma, brother and sister. This was the church I had always attended. The Church of God. It must have been an evening service or a Wednesday service because we were all there. No one was going to children’s church.
It wasn’t a big church. The auditorium had two sets of double doors at the back and three sets of pews with probably 10-12 pews per set. We were in the middle set of pews probably 4th or 5th from the back.
The pastor had called those who felt moved to come to the altar for communion. My grandma got up and went to the altar, leaving me to watch my two younger siblings. As I watched I felt an overwhelming urge to get up and go to the altar myself. Of course during this time in church, those who had not gone to the altar were sitting and praying or standing and praying, giving praise. The pastor was praying and slowly making his way from person to person who was knelt at the altar to accept communion.
I, at the time, felt like I was being called to the altar. Like it was my time to also be included in communion. I was scared, I had never once went to the altar before. I had never taken communion, where a sliver of cracker represented the body of Christ and a little cup of grape juice represented His blood. I whispered to my brother to watch my sister and when I could stand it no more, I too, slowly made my way to the altar.
Every step I took that got me closer the altar the more fear and excitement I felt. I was obeying God. As I knelt at the altar next to my grandma I received my piece of cracker and little cup of juice. I was excited to become closer to Christ, excited to be growing in my faith and understanding of what Jesus had done for me on the cross.
It was at this moment my grandma realized that it was me that was kneeling next to her. I figured she’d be happy for me, excited that I had taken this important step. Instead she hissed “what are you doing up here?”
Immediately I felt shame and embarrassment. I felt like I had done something wrong. I felt stupid. When I said I felt like God had called me to the altar, my grandma told me communion was for adults and that I should have stayed in my seat with my brother and sister. I never went to the altar again. Not at that church nor any other church I have ever gone to.
I never liked being the center of attention, but I had felt I was obeying God and in doing that I was made to feel ashamed and like I’d done something wrong. I beat myself up over that for a week or more asking myself time and again how I could be so stupid to go to the alter to accept communion when I clearly should not have done so. I would not make that mistake again.