The worst part of attending the Pasadena communion gatherings for me was that I was rarely able to stay till the end of each meeting. Because of my unusual work schedule, I often had to leave early. This meant missing everyone’s prayer requests, which usually came at the end of everything. Sometimes I would only have time to volunteer my own prayer requests. I’d plead, “Pray for me!” and scurry off to work like a selfish chipmunk, cheeks full of goodies. I suppose all those frantic exits made me wonder: if it was not all about sharing prayer requests and fervently praying for each other throughout the week, what was communion gathering all about?
I can think of two main reasons we got together. Simply put, they are food and fellowship.
In the most practical sense, a huge part of what we did was eat. Everyone in the group, it appeared, really enjoyed good food. Every other week, either Brad and Missy’s family or James and Amy’s family would generously offer their homes and a main dish of some sort, and the rest of us would bring something to complement that dish. Whether it was a baked potato day or a taco afternoon, it was always a delight to see what someone would cook up or buy from a store or restaurant to fill out the meal. More often than not, I personally was at a loss for what to bring. Because I am my Korean parents’ daughter, I saw my parents bringing Korean food to potlucks, which were always filled with Korean dishes. I often asked the patient Missy important questions such as, “What does one bring to top baked potatoes?” or “Is it okay if I bring chips and salsa again?”
Eventually I got into my stride and became the “bread-girl,” because I found, at a local Vietnamese sandwich place, baguettes that all the gluten-eaters in our group seemed to like quite a bit. The children’s faces would brighten gleefully at the sight of those long sticks of simple carbohydrates. Every other week, only because of the bread, I was a rock star—and for good reason. Bread is no frivolous thing. Those of us who read the scriptures know how important bread can be, both in a real and symbolic way. I feel that I got a real biblical sense of breaking bread through communion gathering. The simplicity and joy that goes with eating with my church folk was truly grand.
The other reason I found communion gathering to be significant is less tangible. I might describe it simply as camaraderie, or fellowship-induced loving kindness. What being part of a church, or a smaller group within the church, can engender might easily be taken for granted—not because it is too subtle, but because it is something that humans need so much.
Unfortunately, because of my work schedule, I had to take leave, or hiatus, from the communion gathering several months ago. During that time, I was met with some trials of life that most people go through, but for me, it felt overwhelmingly all-at-once. Needless to say, I had to deal with some people and situations that were not of the most pleasant variety. I missed the fellowship-induced loving kindness. It took several losses and difficulties for me to realize what a gift community really is. It is a gift from God that we should work toward, strive for, and hope for.
I do not know what is next for me in life. With a thankful heart, I pray that God will bring me to fellowship, love, and kindness like I knew through our Pasadena communion gathering.