I’m linking up with this week to #CommunionMemoirs over at Traces of Faith.
I grew up an only child, daughter of a teacher and a pastor. Somehow I managed to survive all three of those dubious distinctions. These are my memories.
Communion Sundays were the most exciting Sundays when I was a kid.
My dad was the pastor of a small church. That meant my mom as the wife of a pastor of a small church performed a 100 different volunteer duties. It’s similar to being the First Lady, only less glamorous and with more organ music.
Among my mother’s duties were the tasks of baking the communion bread and purchasing the grape juice.
I often helped make the Communion bread. You think the Lord’s Super is so solemn and sacred. Little did you know your communion bread was made by a five-year-old wearing a princess costume.
Remember, Jesus loves the little children.
My job was pricking the unleavened dough all over with a fork after my mom rolled it and placed it on a pizza pan. If you believe in transubstantiation you might be horrified, thinking about putting Jesus on a pizza pan and sticking him in the oven. Just consider it an object lesson on Isaiah 48:10. Transubstantiation was not a part of our church’s doctorine, but it does seem like there might be something sacrilegious about baking communion bread on a pizza pan.
I don’t think our Communion bread was kosher.
There was always extra dough leftover. We baked that separately, often coated with butter, sugar and cinnamon. That was our Saturday night snack while watching Barbara Mandrell and the Mandrell Sisters. Also theologically incorrect, I imagine.
The next morning I watched my parents fill the tiny cups with grape juice, and place them in the silver tray at church.
I was probably four or five years old the first time I took communion. In our church the only requirement was that you accepted Jesus as your Savior. I did that when I was four. A few times. It took me a little while before I figured out you didn’t need to go forward every time there was an alter call. The congregation must have thought I was carrying around a lot of guilt for a pre-schooler.
My greatest fear in life, then and now, is accidentally tipping the communion tray over as it’s passes, baptizing my skirt with grape juice. No one is more careful than I as I take the cup and gingerly hand off the tray to the person next to me in the pew.
The perk of being the pastor’s kid on communion Sunday was that we got to take the leftover bread and juice home. My mother’s homemade communion bread was a hundred times better than that styrofoamish stuff churches use today. That stuff is sacrilegious!
I spent Communion Sunday afternoons snacking on tiny squares of homemade manna, washing them down with grape juice.
Those were the best Sundays ever.
Homemade Communion Bread Recipe (With Mom’s Instructions)
- 1 and 1/2 cups flour
- 1/2 cup butter or Imperial (1 stick) Imperial is the best margarine substitute for butter in baking. Use the stick. Use it cold, not melted. You are making this like pie dough.
- 1/2 teaspoon salt.
Use enough water to make the ingredients stick together. Roll out on a cookie sheet (I’m sure we used a pizza pan.) – ungreased – not too thick or not too thin. Thin will burn quicker; thick will take longer to bake and may be doughy. Use a knife to cut or to score small squares (about 1/2 inch squares). Then use a fork to prick each square 2-3 times each. (Like the holes in a Saltine cracker.)
Bake at 400 degrees F for about 15 minutes. Check, because you don’t want it too doughy, but also not too brown or burned. Usually it will be more done, brown, or crisp on the outside edges than toward the middle. But to get the middle more brown you risk burning at the edges. You may have to check it more often until you get a feel for how your particular oven bakes it, and how brown or done you want it.
Photo by BlancheK. Used under Creative Commons License.